Born in Armenia, Suren Nalbandyan’s family moved to Astrakhan, Russia in 1964, where he took up wrestling in 1969. Nalbandyan, who competed in the Greco-Roman style, became part of the Soviet national team in 1975 and made his international début at the 1976 European Championships, winning featherweight bronze. His next major international tournament, the 1976 Olympics, was the high point of Nalbandyan’s career, as he won a surprising lightweight gold medal by defeating two of his opponents due to disqualification, one by fall and three by decision. After his Olympic triumph, Nalbandyan won the 1977 European lightweight title and also competed at the 1980 Olympics Games, where he finished fourth in lightweight, after which he retired. Nalbandyan never competed at the World Championships but won five Soviet titles: in 1975-77 and 1980 in lightweight and in 1979 in welterweight. After finishing his sporting career, Nalbandyan worked as a wrestling coach.