Viktor Tikhonov: Ice hockey coach who led the Soviets to Olympic gold but lost to the US in 1980 in 'The Miracle on Ice'

Shannon Baxter
Wednesday 26 November 2014 01:00

Viktor Tikhonov was a Soviet hockey coach whose teams won three Olympic gold medals but fell to the US in "The Miracle on Ice".Under Tikhonov, the Soviet "Big Red Machine" was a powerhouse, although it had to settle for the silver medal at the 1980 Olympics in Lake Placid after the stunning defeat to the US.

While he was successful player, winning four Soviet titles as a defender, Tikhonov came into his own during 14 years in charge of the Soviet national team. His teams went on to win Olympic gold in 1984 and 1988, and he took the post-Soviet Unified Team to another gold at the 1992 Games. He also led the Soviet team to eight world championship titles and CSKA Moscow to 14 national championships.

An authoritarian leader with a taste for intense training sessions, Tikhonov used the Soviet political system to control his players and was known to drop star players for international tournaments if he feared they might defect to the West.

Tikhonov remained an active coach until 2004, when he stepped down from the Russian national set-up aged 73 after an unsuccessful comeback. He continued to shape Russian hockey as part of the CSKA management and the Russian Federation until earlier this year.

In recent years Tikhonov had provided guidance to his grandson Viktor, a former player for the Phoenix Coyotes in the US. Tikhonov's only son Vasily, who spent three years as assistant coach with the San Jose Sharks, died last year in a fall at his Moscow apartment. "The entire global hockey community has lost a great coach," said Vladislav Tretiak, who played in goal for Tikhonov's Soviet side and now heads the Russian Federation.

Viktor Vasilyevich Tikhonov, ice hockey coach: born 4 June 1930; died 24 November 2014.

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