Aleksey Vakhonin took up weightlifting in 1956 and rose to prominence in 1961, when he won his first of six Soviet titles as a bantamweight. During his career Vakhonin won Olympic gold in 1964, was three times World Champion (1963, 1964, 1966) and three times European Champion (1963, 1965, 1966), and took bronze at the 1968 European Championships. At the Soviet Championships Vakhonin won six gold (1961-64, 1966, 1967) and four silver (1965, 1968-70) medals. He also set six world records: five in the clean & jerk, and one in the total. After finishing his sporting career Vakhonin worked as a weightlifting coach in his home town Shakhty, Rostov. Since 1994 a memorial tournament in his honor has been held in Shakhty.