Steven Coppola was born on May 22, 1984 in Buffalo, New York, and attended Canisius High School, where he started rowing in 1998 at West Side Rowing Club's "Learn-to-Row" camp, he then went on to row at Canisius High School, where he won multiple Scholastic National Rowing Championships. He graduated from Canisius High School in 2002. He then went on to get his undergraduate degree from Princeton University in Psychology, from which he graduated in 2006. He also won numerous National and International titles while rowing for Princeton and in 2005 and 2006 he was a member of the Princeton varsity eight that finished second in the Intercollegiate Rowing Association Championships. In the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China he made his debut at the Olympic Games rowing for the United States, where he and his team took third and a Bronze Medal in a come from behind finish after trailing the entire race and being in last place at the last 500 meter mark of the 2000 meter race with a final time of 5:25.34 which was less than 2 seconds behind first place Canada. Copolla is also the first ever athlete from Western New York's West Side Rowing Club to receive an Olympic Medal.