Valova was born in Leningrad, Russia, to parents Alla Borisovna Valova and Aleksander Dmitrievich Valov. She graduated from the P.F. Lesgaft University of Sports. She and Vasiliev were married from 1984–1992. Valova is now remarried to German Galusha and has a son, Roman, born in 1996. She moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1997 and currently lives in Moon Township.
In 1984, Valova / Vasiliev won their first European title and then took gold at the 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo. The deaths of several Soviet government officials, including one during the Olympics, cast a pall over the Soviet team and the athletes were told not to show too much joy. The pair took silver at their final event of the season, the 1984 World Championships.
In their final amateur season, Valova / Vasiliev took silver at the 1988 Winter Olympics behind Gordeeva / Grinkov but then prevailed over the reigning Olympic champions at the 1988 World Championships. After winning their third World title, Valova / Vasiliev retired from ISU competition. After performing for a year in Igor Bobrin's ice theatre, they signed a U.S. contract – the first Soviets to do so without losing their citizenship. The pair performed together in various shows and events until the end of 1997.
She currently teaches skating at the Robert Morris University Island Sports Center. She coached Kylie Gleason / Taylor Toth, who were the 2002 U.S. champions in juvenile pairs and the 2003 U.S. champions in intermediate pairs.