John Mais was one of our best gymnasts of the day; so, he might find it a bit disheartening not to find more information about our gymnastic Olympians who competed at a time when the Games comprised only the best of the true amateur athletes. The Olympics were intended to be the world forum for amateur athletes, but over time, the Olympians who sacrificed so much would find there are few records left to remember them. As early as 1904, the gymnastics of the time were setting the stage for U.S. gymnasts to be the best on the Olympic podium. John Mais was a pioneer athlete and coach who was one of the stagehands who did his job the best he possibly could.
Olympic Games: AA-23rd. John Mais was a member of the first U.S. Olympic Team that competed overseas when the U.S. sent 4 gymnasts to Antwerp, Germany, (1920*); Team-5th, AA-53rd, HB-45th, V-31st, PB-64th, PH-50th, R-62nd, RC-55th, & PH Vault-26th, Paris, France, (1924). Roy E. Moore coached both the 1920 and 1924 Olympic Gymnastic Teams. Due to the lapse in time and the long time demise of Mr. Mais, no records were found to indicate for whom John competed or that he won any major titles other than being an Olympian. Mais was a member of the American Turners for over 50 years and worked as a District Freight Agent for Southern Railway. Coach: John Mais was a volunteer Gymnastic Head Coach at the University of Pennsylvania (dates unknown) and was Captain of the gymnastics team that won the Golden Wreath, (1930). Military Service: Mais was a veteran of WWI in which he held the rank of Sergeant Major.
*Although the U.S. had an Olympic Team at the 1904 Olympics this has met with some skepticism over the years because very few European countries sent participants to these Games; however, the International Olympic Committee officially recognizes the 1904 Olympic Games.
Sources: Jerry Wright completed the research and courteously supplied the data and photo for Mais’ biography. Introduction and formatting by Dr. Larry Banner, Web Manager.