November 24, 2014 / 9:29 AM / 4 years ago

Miracle On Ice coach Tikhonov dies, aged 84

Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin (L) and ice hockey legendary coach Viktor Tikhonov attend the "Golden Puck" youth tournament finals at Luzhniki arena in Moscow April 16, 2011. REUTERS/Mikhail Metzel/Pool

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Viktor Tikhonov, who coached the Soviet Union and Unified Team to three straight Olympic ice hockey gold medals, has died in Moscow at the age of 84.

“He passed away overnight. The three-times Olympic champion and legendary coach had been suffering from a long-term illness,” the Russian Ice Hockey Federation said on its website on Monday.

In addition to winning gold at the 1984, 1988 and 1992 Olympics, Tikhonov claimed eight world championship titles as a coach.

He was also in charge of the Soviet team that lost to the United States in the semi-finals of the 1980 Games in a game known as the ‘Miracle on Ice’.

The USSR were the world and Olympic champions but suffered a shock 4-3 defeat against a team mainly made up of college players.

The victory catapulted the U.S. players into international prominence and they became national heroes.

Coach Herb Brooks was personally congratulated by then President Jimmy Carter.

Reporting by Dmitriy Rogovitskiy, editing by Peter Rutherford

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