India Pagan’s memorable and historic Olympic journey has ended, yielding a bounty of memories for the graduate senior on the Stony Brook University women’s basketball team.
Pagan became only the third Stony Brook athlete to compete in the Olympics and the first ever in women’s basketball, representing Puerto Rico at the Games in Tokyo, Japan. Pagan joined Lucy Van Dalen ’12, who ran the 5,000 meters representing New Zealand in the 2012 Olympics in London, and the late Roger Gill ’94, a sprinter who represented Guyana in the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.
Pagan, who grew up in New London, Conn., received a hero’s welcome at Bradley International Airport Aug. 4, greeted by her parents and sister, and a group of family and friends.
“It was unbelievable,” she told NBC Connecticut. “It was memories for a lifetime. I can’t believe I call myself an Olympian. It’s still surreal. I was still getting teary eyed on the plane. So it still hasn’t set in that it’s over.”
Pagan played in all three games of the tournament and combined for nine minutes, six points and six rebounds. She was third on the team in scoring with those six points coming in Puerto Rico’s 87-52 loss to Belgium on July 29. Puerto Rico opened with a 97-55 loss to China on July 27, and finished the preliminary round with a 96-69 loss to Australia on Aug. 2. Australia and China both lost in the quarterfinals, with the Aussies falling to the United States, 79-55, on Aug. 4.
Pagan also filed a first-person photo report on life in the Olympic Village for The New York Times. She talked about daily COVID tests, navigating the Olympic Village, practicing with the team, playing at Saitama Super Arena, and the array of food available to the athletes (“They have everything you can imagine.”)
This year marked the first time Puerto Rico has ever qualified for the Olympic Games.