Tikhonov's specialty was the 4x7.5km biathlon relay. In 1968 and 1972 he was the leadoff skier for the team from the USSR. In 1976 he anchored the Soviet squad and in 1980 he skied the second leg. Each time, the USSR won decisive victories. Tikhonov also earned an individual medal in the 1968 20km race. His time was the fastest by more than a minute, but he missed two targets and ended up in second place.