During his Olympic career, which ran from 1968-80, he won five medals and four gold medals. All of his gold medals, however, came as a member of the winning Soviet relay teams, which won that event four times consecutively. He is the only athlete to have won a gold medal in the same event at four consecutive Winter Olympics. To his team gold medals, he added a silver medal over 20 km in the 1968 individual event. He also finished 4th in that event in 1972 and 5th in 1976 and was the Soviet flag bearer at the 1980 Olympics. At the World Championships he won individual titles in 1969, 1970 and 1973 over 20 km and over 10 km in 1977. He won a further six relay gold medals at the World Championships (1969-71, 1973-74, 1977), giving him a total of 13 biathlon gold medals at the Olympic and World Championships. Tikhonov won four silvers (in 20 km in1971 and 1979 and in relay in 1967 and 1975) and two bronzes (1977 in 20 km and 1979 in relay) at the World Championships, and also won 14 Soviet titles between 1969 and 1977. In the 1990s he became interested in equestrianism and in 1996 he founded an equestrian club, named in his honor, which has taken part of the World Cup, and Tikhonov was one of the best know Russian horse dealers at the end of 1990s. In 1999 he campaigned for governor of the Moscow Oblast post, but lost narrowly to General Boris Gromov, who holds the post as of late-2009. In May 2002, Tikhonov was chosen as Vice-President of the International Biathlon Union (IBU). In 2000, he was accused of participating in planning the murder of Kemerovo Oblast Governor Aman Tuleyev, and since 2002 Tikhonov has lived in Austria, so he was indicted separately from the other accused. On 23 July 2007, Tikhonov was found guilty of conspiracy to commit murder and sentenced to three years imprisonment, but he was given immediate amnesty and did not serve any prison time.