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1996-1997 Season Overview

Elena and Anton's first competition together was the 1996 Trophee Lalique. After the short program, they were in second place behind Jenni Meno and Todd Sand of the United States, skating a flawless program. However, the long program was skated somewhat cautiously, so B&S moved down a spot to third place. The exhibition had to be skipped because Elena injured her leg. Still, a third place finish at an international competitions was very successful for the couple's first competition together.

The next stop was the 1996 Cup of Russia. Elena and Anton did have some trouble, falling on a lift. They finished fifth in the short program and stayed there after the long, behind Russian teammates Kazakova & Dmitriev and Eltsova & Bushkov, Germans Woetzel & Ingo, and Lyons & Wells of the U.S.

Tamara Moskvina hoped that her newest pair could finish second at the Russian National Championships. Her wish was granted as the couple skated cleanly and placed behind only Eltsova & Bushkov. Elena and Anton defeated former World Champions Shishkova & Naumov and training partners Kazakova & Dmitriev.

The 1997 European Championships would be the first major international competition that Elena and Anton competed in together. They skated the short program without errors, and received 5.3's to 5.6's for technical merit. The artistic impression marks ranged from 5.3's to 5.7's. After the short program, Elena and Anton trailed Abitbol & Bernadis of France, in fourth place. The long program was skated cleanly as well. The marks were higher, ranging from 5.3 to 5.8 for technical merit, and up to 5.9 for artistic impression. B&S managed to defeat Abitbol & Bernadis to win the bronze medal behind Eltsova & Bushkov and Woetzel & Steuer, who placed first and second respectively.

The only way to describe 1997 Worlds was a disaster. It started out well in the short program, skated to a Strauss waltz. The flawless program was ranked third. In the long program, the couple's inexperience showed. First, Anton fell on both of his jumps, the triple toe loop and the double axel. Then, Elena could not hold onto the landing on either the throw triple salchow or the throw triple loop. Anton was so frustrated with the performance that he didn't bother to wait to hear his scores. The free skate was ranked only twelfth, dropping Elena and Anton from third to ninth overall. Most couples do have a discouraging competition at least once in their careers. Even though the season ended on a low note, Elena and Anton were determined to do better in the next competition.

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