During a blustery, cold morning off Airport Road, a U.S. Olympian hoisting an AR-15 rifle at the Denton Police Department shooting range Wednesday drew a flock of media attention.
A tweet during the 2014 Winter Olympics by Johnny Quinn, a former University of North Texas football player, started it all. At the time, he was just stuck in a bathroom and didn’t realize that a photo of him breaking through a bathroom door in Sochi, Russia, would gain so much worldwide attention, but it did — including the eye of Denton police Officer Ryan Grelle.
“I followed him while he played football for UNT here, but I never have met him until now,” Grelle said Wednesday morning. “When I saw his tweet on Twitter during the start of the Olympic games, I initiated contact since he does have a history here.”
Within six weeks, Quinn was amped and ready to learn after accepting Grelle’s offer to come train with the award-winning SWAT team and learn how to “properly breach a door.”
Officer Ronny Crain showed Quinn, a 30-year-old McKinney resident, an array of rams constructed from various materials. He also showed him how to use them to break through a door.
“You want to hit as close to the door knob always, even if it knocks it right on through,” Crain said.
Quinn, not using a fist this time, busted through a wooden door proclaiming, “little bit easier than Sochi.” The second door — made of metal — wasn’t as easy. Yet after two tries, he got through.
Two years ago, the tactical team won a contest organized by Tactical Response Magazine for the best practical physical training test in the country, officials said.
The test is a mental and physical challenge complete with sprinting, busting doors, shooting targets and climbing — all within three minutes.
Quinn, a bobsledder, did a quarter of the version of what the tactical team does — shooting with an AR-15 at the 50-yard line, busting through a door and then back to shooting with a pistol at the 7-yard line.
How did this compare to his bobsledding in Sochi?
“I was really, really focusing while shooting,” he said. “Focus is the only thing that I can compare otherwise. There is no comparison.”
Before blasting a door with an explosive, Quinn expressed gratitude and appreciation to learn the hard work of what it takes to be a police officer.
“I am honored for the opportunity,” he said.
MEGAN GRAY can be reached at 940-566-6885 and via Twitter at @MGrayNews.