In 1996 she became the first Russian woman to win the European title. She won her first World medal, a bronze, later that season.
She finished fifth at her first Olympic Winter Games, in 1998, and the next month she took silver at the World Championships.
At the 2000 Grand Prix Final, Slutskaya landed a triple Lutz-triple loop combination, making her the first woman to complete that jump combination in competition. At the 2001 World Championships, she became the first woman to land a triple Salchow-triple loop-double toe loop combination.
Slutskaya won silver at the 2002 Winter Olympics, becoming just the second Russian ever to win a medal in the women's event. The next month she won the World title in Nagano, Japan.
In 2003, Slutskaya was diagnosed with vasculitis, an illness that caused fatigue and swelling in the legs. After a subpar 2003-04 season, she made a strong comeback in 2004-05, winning both the European and World titles.
Slutskaya won the European championship in 2006 for the seventh time, setting the record for the most European titles by a ladies skater.
At the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino, Italy, Slutskaya won the bronze medal behind gold medalist Shizuka Arakawa of Japan and silver medalist Sasha Cohen.