Valentin Olenik took up wrestling in 1954 and was selected for the Soviet national team in 1961. During his career Olenik competed in four major international tournaments: the 1964 Olympics, where he was fourth; the 1966 World Championships, where he won gold; the 1967 World Championships, where he won silver; and the 1968 Olympics, where he also won silver, all in Greco-Roman middleweight. Domestically, Olenik won the Soviet Greco-Roman middleweight title in 1967 and Greco-Roman light-heavyweight title in 1969. He also won Soviet medals in Greco-Roman middleweight, silver in 1966 and bronze in 1968, and Greco-Roman light-heavyweight bronze in 1970. Olenik finished his sporting career in 1972 and later worked as a wrestling coach and sports official. He was coach of the 1976 Soviet Olympic team and, from 1975, a board member of the Soviet Wrestling Federation. From 1978-85 Olenik worked with the Soviet State Committee for Physical Culture and Sports and, from 1985 until his untimely death due to a heart attack, was the head of the physical education department of the Moscow Institute of Transport Engineers. Since 2000, an annual Greco-Roman wrestling tournament has been held in his honor in Novokuznetsk, Kemerovo.