Say what you will about Irina but she was a legit threat to win gold at every major event she entered from 2000-2006 (other than perhaps 2004 Worlds just back from a major illness) and a legit threat to atleast medal at every major event she entered in 1996-2006. I doubt very much someone like Witt would have been that strong a factor for so many years in the Michelle Kwan era. Henjie is hard to compare, she is from a whole different zone altogether. I am sure she was an amazing skater, but there are some horror stories of the kind of politics that went behind some of her wins, ones that would put even the work the Russian and German federations did for Witt and Slutskaya to seem like nothing. Her first World title came with 3 of the 5 judges being from Norway, and she won despite the 2 non Norwegian judges voting for the 5 time defending Champion Herma Plack, and her win created such an uproar that only 1 judge per country was ever allowed in the future. Some have said Maribel Vinson outskated her at times and lost, and most seem to think Cecilia Colledge had surpassed her by the mid 30s but was not allowed by the powers that be to ever win.