When his mother died in the 1918 flu pandemic, his father sent Steve Lysak, along with his brother, to an orphanage as he was unable to raise the children by himself. The brothers began rowing in the Hudson River with homemade boats. Steve Lysak had a very long and varied career as a canoeist. His greatest success came in team events, either pairs or fours. He had many partners, but it was with Steve Macknowski that he reached his highest achievements. Together they won the U.S. title in 1948 in Canadian pairs as well as taking a gold and silver medal at the London Olympics of that year. Lysak and Macknowski also were on three national championship Canadian fours teams. Lysak also managed one national title at C-1. Lysak was from the New York area and represented the Yonkers Canoe Club all his career. He designed and built the canoe that he and Macknowski used in the Olympics. Steve Lysak was the brother of John Lysak, who competed in canoeing at the 1936 Berlin Olympics.