Footage of Brittney Griner’s journey home released by Russian media

Griner, 32, remarked, "I'm good," as she sat in the airplane on her way home. She replied, "I'm happy," when asked how she was feeling.

Brittney Griner is free and delighted to return home to America.

People reported that the WNBA star was detained in Russia until Thursday, when authorities freed her in a prisoner swap for Russian arms trader Viktor Bout.

In a video released by Russian media, Griner, 32, remarked, “I’m good,” as she sat in the airplane on her way home. She replied, “I’m happy,” when asked how she was feeling.

In a video released by Russian media, newly freed WNBA star Brittney Griner remarked, “I’m good,” as she sat in the airplane on her way home. Asked how she was feeling, she replied, “I’m happy.” (Photo: Screenshot/ News)

The video’s opening seconds show Griner looking through documents, seemingly relieved. Before being spotted on the plane, she holds bags while standing beside Russian jail guards outside and getting into a van.

Griner can be seen later in the video getting off the aircraft in the United Arab Emirates and walking past Bout on the tarmac.

The former Olympian’s return to San Antonio, Texas, where she reunited with her wife, Cherelle Griner, and her parents, was confirmed Thursday by Cathy Engelbert, the WNBA commissioner.

“There has not been a day over the past ten months where we all haven’t had Brittney Griner on our minds and in our hearts and that has now turned into a collective wave of joy and relief knowing that she will soon be reunited with her family, the WNBA player community and her friends,” Engelbert said in a statement, according to The Associated Press.

Engelbert thanked everyone who helped bring Griner home, including President Joe Biden’s administration and the Office of the Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs.

“BG has shown extraordinary courage and dignity in the face of enormous adversity,” she added.

According to People, five former U.S. officials said the swap involving Griner and Bout, a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, was arranged with Moscow just recently and received Biden’s final clearance Dec. 1.

Griner, detained in Russia since February, was serving a nine-year prison term for minor possession of cannabis after being found guilty of drug smuggling, theGrio previously reported. She was in Mordovia, known for its “land of prisons,” at the time of her release.

Inmates at the colony are reportedly subjected to brutal conditions, including forced labor lasting up to 16 hours daily. Those imprisoned are susceptible to racial and homophobic attacks.

According to People, a senior White House official confirmed that the basketball star was in good health and would receive numerous support options.

Griner’s WNBA team, the Phoenix Mercury, and the Phoenix Suns of the NBA issued a joint statement proclaiming that “miraculously, mercifully,” their “sister” is back where she belongs, according to AP.

“The emotions for our organization, just like for our fans and so many across the world, are those of joyous celebration, deep gratitude, grief for the time lost, and sincere hope for all families still awaiting the return of a loved one,” the organizations said in a statement, AP reported. 

“BG’s strength in this process, her unwavering belief that resolution would come, and the hope she displayed every day,” they noted, “is what kept all of us believing this day would come.”

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