Next season should mark Irina's 10th year contributing to the sport of figure skating. Some of you might remember the little jumping bean we saw at 94 Junior worlds where she placed 3rd behind Kwan and one other skater. The following year she won the junior world title and enjoyed success in the senior ranks in 96. She won Russia's first European ladies title(and probably the countrie's first major ladies title in many years). She has accomplished what many other skaters would dream to accoomplish and she doesn't seem like she's taking those skates off just yet.
In a sport where teenage girls dominate, I think she(and Kwan) deserves a round of applause for sticking in for many years and showing these young girls who is boss.:D