Legendary Soviet Union ice hockey coach dies at 84

Viktor Tikhonov, who led his Soviet Union team to three Olympic gold medals but also oversaw the shock “Miracle on Ice” defeat to the U.S., has died at the age of 84. As a player, Tikhonov won four Soviet titles in 1951-54. He hung up his skates in 1963 and began his coaching career, spending three years at Dynamo Moscow as an assistant coach before taking over Dynamo Riga as a head coach in 1968. Tikhonov was known as a stern-faced task master with a dictatorial coaching style, but was a warm and caring person with his family.

He was just a normal grandfather. Kind and helpful.

Viktor Tikhonov, grandson

As a coach, Tikhonov led the Soviet national side to gold at the 1984, 1988 and 1992 Olympics and victory at eight world championships in 1978, 1979, 1981-83, 1986, 1989 and 1990. He was also the coach during the USSR’s most painful hockey defeat, during the 1980 Lake Placid Winter Olympics, when the dominant Soviets lost to their Cold War rivals the United States in a shock defeat that became known as the “Miracle on Ice.”