World and Olympic Champion, Elena Berezhnaya is considered among the greats of the Russian Dynasty of pairs skating. Elena's career embodies the essence of triumph over tragedy.
A Russian native born in Nevinnomyssk, Elena started her pairs figure skating career with Oleg Shliakhov. During practice in 1996, his blade sliced into her skull resulting in partial paralysis on her right side and fear that she would never walk or talk again. Fellow skater and her future on ice partner, Anton Sikharulidze, visited her in the hospital daily eventually taking on the role of caretaker.
Anton and famous Russian figure skating coach Tamara Moskvina truly believed that Elena could return to skating. Within two months of the accident, Elena was taking slow but incredible steps towards this achievement. Elena and Anton went on to become four-time Russian Pair Champions from 1999-2002, two-time World Pair Champions in 1998 and 1999, and the 1998 Olympic Pairs Silver Medallists.
Finally, at the center of one of the most controversial sporting events in history, they shared the 2002 Winter Olympic Gold Medal with Canadians Jamie Salé and David Pelletier following the unforgettable judging scandal. Elena and Anton turned professional and, after a prolific professional career, Elena married eight-time British Champion Steven Cousins with whom she has two children. Considered soulful, balletic and elegant, Elena will undoubtedly bring her gutsy determination to the third season of Battle of the Blades, and coincidentally, compete against David Pelletier once again.
Name Curtis and Elena's original lift
PHOTO GALLERY: Elena and Curtis
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