Dityatin was born in Leningrad (St. Petersburg) on August 7, 1957. At the age of 15 he was given special dispensation to take part in the senior USSR championships. Two years later he won the Spartakiades in USSR, an event which was followed by a growth crisis in which he grew 12 cm in one year. At the age of 18, as part of the national team, he came third in the European championships which were won outright by Andrianov.
Dityatin's first Olympic success was at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, where he won two silver medals - on the rings and in the team competition. At the 1980 Summer Olympics After years of being second to teamamte Andrianov, 22-year-old Dityatin won a record eight medals in the Moscow Games where he won the all-around title and seven more medals, including two golds to add to his historic achievement of the perfect 10, a feat which had only been recorded by Romania's Nadia Comaneci and the Soviet Union's Nellie Kim. Shortly after the 1980 Olympics, Dityatin was seriously injured while training, which ended his career. He was the most successful athlete at the 1980 Summer Olympics. As of August 2008 he is the only athlete who won a medal in each of the eight gymnastics events at one Olympics.
Dityatin is the first athlete in Olympic history to win eight medals in one Olympic Games. He was also the first male gymnast to be awarded a perfect score of ten in an Olympic competition, a feat he accomplished in the long horse vault.
Dityatin graduated from Leningrad Lesgaft Institute of Physical Education. He was awarded Order of the Badge of Honor (1976), and Order of Lenin (1980, for guarding the State Border of the USSR). Between 1980 and 1995 Dityatin was the head coach of a sports team from Leningrad (Leningrad OKPP). Since 1995 he works as the chief inspector of the Pulkovo Airportcheckpoint (Pulkovo-2 OKPP). He is a Lieutenant Colonel of the Russian Border Service.