HomeSportsBrittney Griner Chopped Off Her Hair After It Froze in Russian Prison, New Pics Show

Brittney Griner Chopped Off Her Hair After It Froze in Russian Prison, New Pics Show

by Nick Geddes
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(Photo by Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV / AFP) (Photo by KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP via Getty Images)

Details of WNBA star Brittney Griner‘s 10-month detainment in Russia were released Thursday — the same day in which she returned home.

Griner, who spent time in the IK-2 prison after being sentenced to nine years in prison on drug charges, was photographed Thursday with her signature hair missing. Maria Blagovolina, one of Griner’s two Russian lawyers, told ESPN that she cut her hair two Sundays ago. Griner told her attorneys she planned to do it in order to make her life in Russia a little bit easier during the harsh winter.

“It’s very cold in there and every time she washed her hair she got cold and would get a chill,” Blagovolina said. “She should have waited until New Year’s Day.”

Griner also had the flu recently, though she was on the mend ahead of her release. Once Russian authorities transferred her to the IK-2 prison, Griner was expected to work during the day sewing uniforms. The 6-foot-9 Griner, however, was too tall to sit at the worktables. Instead, she carried fabric all day in what she described as a job she enjoyed.

“She had honestly no complaints,” Blagovolina said. “Things could have been much worse.”

President Joe Biden Organizes Prisoner Swap to Bring Brittney Griner Home

Griner was involved in a one-on-one exchange for Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, also known as the “Merchant of Death.” Both countries discussed the exchange in Moscow over recent weeks with President Joe Biden granting approval within the past week. The swap officially took place in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

After speaking with Griner and her wife, Biden announced on Twitter that she was safe and on her way home. He further expounded on her release in a statement through The White House.

“Moments ago, standing together with her wife, Cherelle, in the Oval Office, I spoke with Brittney Griner,” Biden said. “She’s safe… She’s on her way home. After months of being unjustly detained in Russia, held under intolerable circumstances, Brittney will soon be back in the arms of her loved ones, and she should have been there all along.

This is a day we’ve worked toward for a long time. We never stopped pushing for her release. It took painstaking and intense negotiations, and I want to thank all the hardworking public servants across my administration who worked tirelessly to secure her release. I also want to thank the UAE for helping us facilitate Brittney’s return, because that’s where she landed. 

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