Legendary Soviet coach Viktor Tikhonov dead at 84
Viktor Tikhkonov, who guided the Soviet Union to three Olympic gold medals and eight world championships, died at 84. (AFP)
Viktor Tikhonov, the coach of the Soviet Union Olympic hockey team that lost the "Miracle on Ice" game to the United States in 1980, has died. He was 84.
Tikhonov guided the Soviet Union to gold at the 1984, 1988 and 1992 Winter Olympics, but always will be remembered as the coach of the team that lost to the brash, young amateur Americans in the semifinals of the 1980 Games.
In a release sent from the Russian Ice Hockey Federation Tikhonov's role in Soviet sports was emphasized.
"Russian sport has suffered an irreplaceable loss."
The Soviets won eight world titles between 1978 and 1990 under Tikhonov's tutelage.
But it was that one loss to the United States during the Cold War at the Lake Placid Games that defined his career both outside the Soviet Union and around the world.
"The entire global hockey community has lost a great coach," Vladislav Tretiak, who played goalie for Tikhonov' and now is in charge of the Russian Hockey Federation, told Russia's R-Sport news agency.
"He devoted his entire life to hockey until the last second. Even when I was with him in hospital, we were discussing what needed to be done and how, in order to raise the Russian national team to the very highest level."
Tikhonov had been hospitalize since late October and had been receiving treatment at home for an undisclosed illness.