Team USA wheelchair basketball player Courtney Ryan is keen to return to Tokyo to do some more exploring after attending the Paralympics there in 2021.
Courtney Ryan competed in the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games in the Team USA wheelchair basketball squad, taking home a bronze medal.
Ryan the Ariake Arena will remain a lasting memory – it's the venue where she and her team took on Germany for the medal. "Your jaw dropped because you couldn't believe that you were going to be able to compete at something that was just that beautiful," she says.
The basketball player was stuck by Japanese design while in Tokyo and found the medals themselves akin to a piece of art: "[They] are actually made out of recycled materials, recycled cell phones, that Japanese residents were able to donate for the Paralympic and Olympic cause. Their ability to be able to do that and create such art is such an incredible thing."
Ryan looks forward to going back and experiencing Tokyo by herself, commenting that accessibility for disabled people "was not an afterthought. It was always very easy to manoeuvre your wheelchair, to get from point A to point B."
Courtney was also touched by the Japanese "Omotenashi", a deep-rooted culture in Japan that promotes wholeheartedly looking after guests, which she felt from the moment she touched down with the rest of Team USA.
"You can tell that they have so much pride and love and culture within their community," she adds.