Vitaly Konstantinov, who competed in the Greco-Roman flyweight class his entire career, took up wrestling in 1965 and made his international début at the 1972 European Championships, where he won a silver medal. At the 1972 Olympics, Konstantinov lost to eventual bronze medal winner Giuseppe Bognanni by fall, and to eventual silver medalist Koichiro Hirayama by decision, and did not advance to the final rounds.
After finishing a disappointing fourth at the 1973 World Championships, Konstantinov established himself as the world’s best Greco-Roman flyweight wrestler in the mid-70s by winning the 1975 World title and 1976 Olympic title. He also won the 1980 European title. Domestically, Konstantinov won four Soviet titles (1976-77, 1979-80). After finishing his sporting career, Konstantinov worked as a wrestling coach and referee. Since 1998 an annual Greco-Roman wrestling tournament in his honor has been held in Ulyanovsk.