Five years after retiring from the sport, Brian Burrows became an Olympic medalist.
The 33-year-old walked away from trap shooting after the United States failed to qualify in his event for the 2012 or 2016 Olympics.
“I made the decision that after college, I would get a real job and kind of settle down a little bit,” Burrows said.
Three years ago, a phone call from a former coach in North Texas brought him back.
“He told me like, ‘Hey, I want you to try some stuff shooting-wise. I think you’d enjoy it, just like a little different technique,’ and I was like, ‘Dwayne, I haven’t picked up a gun in a while,’” Burrows recalled.
He gave it a shot, and before long made the U.S. National Team, went to the World Cup, set a world record and quit his day job in California.
He became his own boss when he opened Ironwood Axe Throwing in Denton.
“It was at a time in my life where I was going to start pursuing the Olympic trail a little bit harder and needed a job that allowed me to travel a little more and have a little more freedom,” Burrows said.
With his sights set on Tokyo, burrows made the U.S. trap shooting team.
In a sudden-death shoot-off, he and Maddy Bernau beat a team from Slovakia to bring home bronze in the mixed-team match.
“The goal was to get to the Olympics. Anything past that to win an Olympic medal is kind of icing on the cake so to actually have an Olympic medal is crazy,” Burrows said.
He said he and his wife haven’t decided whether he’ll shoot for the Paris 2024 team.