Gainesville Police Officer Pursuing Olympic Archery Dream
Joshua Hinson was a former national champion with a dream of the Olympics when his aim changed from the bull’s-eye to his career as a Gainesville police officer. But Hinson has once again taken up the bow and arrow, and with it, his dream of Olympic archery competition.”My goal is the Olympics,” said Hinson, a 29-year-old with seven years at GPD. “The coaches told me I still have it. I was like, wow, maybe the Olympics are still in my future.”Like many people, Hinson shot his first arrow in summer camp. Hinson got his first bow at age 15 and improved quickly.
From age 15 to 22 he was very competitive, winning 15 state championships, setting three state records, winning a regional championship and a national championship. “Then I started getting interested in my career as a police officer, so I stopped archery for about seven years until last summer,” Hinson said. “Ididn’t quit, but I didn’t have time for it. I fell out of it.”
Hinson fell back into archery by going to the Easton Newberry Sports Complex, which opened in 2009 and is a top-of-the-line archery center complete with Olympic-level coaches. Easton manufactures archery equipment. All it took was two visits to again put Hinson on a competitive track.
“I had all of my equipment in a box — I had to blow all of the dust off it,” Hinson said. “I had to upgrade my equipment to the kind that is winning medals.”
Hinson is now competing around the country to build up his skills and his rankings. In doing so, he is also donating money to the families of officers who have died while on duty. Whenever Hinson makes an X bull’s-eye — the innermost ring — at a tournament this year, he will donate $1 to Concerns of Police Survivors. It’s a national nonprofit organization that provides free services to the families of fallen officers.
In his first tournament this year he hit 63 X bull’s-eyes and got 10 others to match his pledge of $1 each. “I’m a Christian and I really feel that everything I do should be helping somebody else,” he said. “Being a police officer, I have lost a co-worker in the line of duty and almost lost two others — two very close friends.”
Archery requires extreme mental concentration along with skill to be a top competitor, Hinson said, adding that the pressure can be intense. But at a recreational level, archery is a sport that anyone can play.
“It’s great because anybody can do it. You can be old, overweight, underweight — as long as you can put the arrow on the string, pull it back and let it go,” he said.
By Cindy Swirko, Staff Writer at Gainesville Sun
Contact Cindy Swirko at 374-5024 or email@example.com