Kayle Browning competes during the trap women's finals at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 on July 29, 2021 in Saitama, Japan.
TOKYO – With earplugs blocking out most of the noise at the Asaka Shooting Range, Kayle Browning could still hear her father’s voice inside her head.
After missing three of her first four shots in the women’s trap final at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, she remembered the advice of Tommy Lynn Browning, a national sporting clay champion.
“He kept telling me, ‘Even if you miss, even if you’re behind, never give up. Keep fighting till that last shot and whatever’s meant to happen will happen, so just give it your best shot,’” she said.
“He’s told me that my whole life.”
Browning then reeled off 19 straight hits en route to the Olympic silver medal Thursday.
After taking the lead with 17 hits, Browning wound up with a total of 42, losing to Zuzana Rehak Stefecekova of Slovakia, who scored an Olympic record 43. Alessandra Perilli became the first Olympic medalist in any sport for San Marino, earn the bronze with 29 hits. San Marino, population 34,000, is the smallest country to win an Olympic medal.
Team USA has now won three Olympic medals in women’s trap, with Corey Cogdell winning the bronze in 2008 and 2016.
“This is the pinnacle of my career,” said Browning, who was an alternate for Team USA at the 2012 Olympic Games “I’ve worked for this moment my whole life, so I don’t really have words to describe it yet, but I’m definitely proud.”
The trap event began with five qualifying rounds over two days.
“I felt extremely prepared,” said Browning, who won the team and individual gold medals at the 2018 Championships of the Americans and was part of the winning team at the 2019 world championships. “Typically, I get kind of nervous before a shoot, but for this shoot, I felt really prepared and really calm and really confident.”
After three rounds Wednesday, Browning was in ninth place with a score of 71 (23-24-24). She started Thursday morning with a 24, followed by a 25 to tie for fifth, then was assigned the sixth and final position after the shoot-off.