Brittney Griner, a 32-year-old WNBA star released from a Russian prison on December 8th, was filmed returning to American custody. The athlete wore a red flannel zip-up jacket and a gray beanie on her way home.
Her long dreadlocks were gone, and she had a new haircut. When asked how she was feeling, she said “glad” and smiled brightly.
Brittney is also seen being questioned off-camera if she is “ready” to fly in the footage, which was made public by Russian official media, to which she responds, “Yes.”
During the prisoner swap between the two countries, the 32-year-old met Viktor Bout, a 55-year-old Russian arms salesman, on his way back to Russia.
The two passed one other while strolling on the tarmac of the UAE airport. Viktor shook a few people’s hands and nodded at Brittney as she walked away to greet others.
Viktor approached the gathering of men at the airport with only one other man by his side whilst a swarm of men in suits surrounded Brittney. The 55-year-old was observed walking alongside the Texan with a manila packet. Brittney’s two duffle bags were given to the men who were accompanying her so that they could return to the US with her.
On August 4, the Olympic gold medalist was found guilty of “large-scale drug trafficking” and “deliberately smuggling cannabis-infused vape cartridges into Russia despite their being illegal.”
Brittney successfully appealed her nine-year Russian jail sentence after being found guilty. On October 25, however, the Russian courts rejected her appeal. Her attorneys spoke to The New York Times on her behalf at the time of the denial.
She was eventually scheduled to return home on December 8 after reportedly working on the prisoner exchange with President Joe Biden since July.
“Brittney Griner and I just spoke. She’s at ease. She’s already in the air. She’s on her way home,” Biden tweeted, along with photos of himself and Brittney Griner’s wife, Cherelle Griner.