Oksana and Artur spent part of the summer of 1996 on the Tour of Champions. Following the tour, they returned to St. Petersburg to have brief vacations with their families. Artur relished spending time with his wife Tatiana and their three year old son Artur Jr. Oksana married her boyfriend Alexei Novitsky that summer in a beautiful ceremony at an Orthodox church.
The couple and their coach Tamara then had to settle down to the task of preparing for the season ahead. They created both a new short program and a new long. Most of their time was spent on the long program. The music would be Handel's Passacalia. The choreographer David Avdish had given the striking piece of music to Tamara on an old, worn tape. Tamara searched frantically to find a version of the music with the same gorgeous instrumentation on a CD. She searched for weeks to no avail untill at last a St. Petersburg radio station located the CD.
The short program was to be a switch for the couple. They were to skate a humorous program to the music of "La Cucaracha". Tamara wanted to see the couple branch out and exp