Stephen Lesage: power-lifting astronaut

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“So is it safe to say you don’t have a fear of heights?”

“Not really—kind of…I’m more scared of going underwater.”

Budding powerlifter Stephen Lesage is an Astrophysics and Physics double major with a minor in Math.
Budding powerlifter Stephen Lesage is an Astrophysics and Physics double major with a minor in Math. (Photo by Kaleb Dill)

Stephen Lesage, a senior here at the College, has been spotlighted recently in multiple articles about his impressive accomplishments with powerlifting. In 2015, a friend of Lesage’s became curious in powerlifting, Lesage joined along since his friend needed a ride. Next thing you know, he was competing in a Myrtle Beach powerlifting championship earning him a spot at the 2015 Global Powerlifting World Championship in Las Vegas.

“[There were] some big dudes walking around,” Lesage reminisced about the September competition, where he became the champion for his one-hundred-fifty-pound weight class. He recalled waking up at four in the morning the day before to sweat off the last pound for weigh-ins. Encased in trashbags and a sweatsuit, Lesage airsquatted in a steamy bathroom to shed off the last few ounces. Making weight with these techniques is a part of the sport: pushing to sweat off as much as possible as well as skipping dinner and forgoing water the night before weigh-ins is not strange to wrestlers, powerlifters and even UFC fighters.

However, none of the articles written about Lesage so far touch on what Lesage really wants to do with his talents and skills: astrophysics. He will be graduating from the College in May 2017 with a double major in Astrophysics and Physics as well as a minor in Math. “I want to be an astronaut, eventually,” Lesage explained after revealing his outstanding talents with physics and math. He mentioned that in high school he could fall asleep in classes and still make A’s—so when Lesage entered in College, originally unsure of the path he would take, he thought: “Astrophysics? That sounds cool…I’ll try that!”

A Boston native, Lesage
Lesage took an unusual path to the 2015 Global Powerlifting World Championship. (Photo by Kaleb Dill)

His specific interests within the field of Astrophysics is with stellar nucleosynthesis, which is nuclear fusion within stars. Much of the work in this specialization is theoretical and involves programming and coding so computers can interpret relevant data. Although powerlifting and becoming an astronaut do not seem to go hand-in-hand, it is what makes Stephen Lesage unique and makes sense when viewed in perspective of who he is. Having to make the decision between power-lifting and school, Lesage referenced the world championship he competed in: “It went by quick for me because my weight class is early in the day…it was a three or four-day thing and I couldn’t stay because I had to come back for school.”

Although Lesage still trains five times a week, his sights are set on stars and rocket-ships not so much deadlifts and bench presses. When he does train, he continues to do the basic moves of powerlifting competitions: squats, bench presses and deadlifts as well as experimenting around with other work outs. After graduation, Lesage looks to attend grad school although much of his plan for the future is not exactly clear.

“I have no plan at all…I’m just gonna go and see where I end up.”

And for Lesage, that might just be in outer space looking from the stars he has been shooting for.

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