Russian cross-country skier and four-time Olympic gold medalist, making him one of the most successful Russian competitors in the sport.
He won his first International Competition medal in the 1978 World Championships, taking the silver.
He won three gold medals at the 1980 Olympics in the 30 km, 50 km, and 4 x 10 km relay events.
He married Lyubov Zimyatov in 1988.
He first competed in the 1980 Olympics where speed skater Eric Heiden won five gold medals.