Jack working Rings
Jack made his debut in Tallahassee in 1951 an auspicious one, winning the NAAU Flying Rings championship and earning a berth on the All-American AAU Team. He repeated this latter honor in 1955 and also - - added the NAAU Still Rings title to his list of gymnastic achievements.
One of the most outstanding gymnasts in Florida State history, Jack has been a member of two Olympic teams, In ‘55 he was named to the Pan-American Olympic Team and in ‘56 to the U. S. Olympic squad.
Jaek graduated from FSU in 1954 with a BS in marketing. Presently, he is in the Graduate School specializing in Physical Education. Besides physical education, Miles has had experience in various other fields.
The present holder of 18 individual gymnastic titles in this region.
1956 Olympic Team, Jack 2nd from the right front row
AAU’s 1955 Gymnastics Champion
by Bruce A. Davis
Jack Miles was a native Philadelphian who along with his older brother Bob grew up working at the Turners (Turnverin) in the late forties trying to emulate on the gymnastics of the stoic Bob Stout. 1952 Olympian and the first man to perform a full twisting hack somersault in the Olympic Games. Having natural drawing ability. Jack would often think up and draw new moves to he performed on the flying rings.
Jack’s best friend and 1952 NCAA ring champion. Jack Sharp. recommended that Jack attend Florida State University. Miles was instrumental in contributing to FSU national championship endeavors while he began to excel in the all-around. In 1954 he technically made the US team to the World Gymnastics Championships only to he told by administrators that the US team was not good enough to go. However, there was no stopping him in 1955 when he won the National Amateur Athletic Union All-Around Championship and was number one on the US gold medal team in the 1955 Pan American Games in Mexico City. In 1956 he made the Olympic training squad hut failed to make the competing squad and did not go to Melbourne. Australia for the Games.
If you think that the Athens 2004 Olympic Games were controversial for American Paul Mann. the politics of AAU gymnastics of the fifties and sixties was far worse. Jack went from being National Champion in 1955 to not making the team in 1956. FSU’s coach. Dr. Hartley Price was not available to help him prepare for the Olympic Trials in California and the Kate
Montgomery Gym in Tallahassee was not open for training during summer college vacation. Jack got invaluable help from gymnast team member Miroslav Ceska who was attending FSU from the Czechoslovakian National team.
Academically. Jack received a degree in business and then took credits in education while he coached and taught for Price during Dr. Hartley Price’s Fulbright Scholarship leave to India. After amassing a Masters degree and a Doctorate almost. Jack tired of the FSU situation and gave into an itch to go to Manhattan. New York and try acting. Gaining bit parts as a stunt man, stand in a double for the likes of Frank Sinatra, Tony Randall, Jaime Farr, Andy Williams, Ray Bolger and William Shatner, Jack followed the production crew South to North Miami to the Ivan Tours Studios on NEl25th Street. When it was all said and done Jack had small parts in Gentle Ben. Flipper, Car 54 Where Are You, and The Defenders as well as several movies like Lady in Cement and Tony Roma.
Jack was commuting to Miami from Ft. Lauderdale. He also took a job with Ft. Lauderdale Recreation Department (14 years) and eventually became the Director where he was a favorite of his employees. Jack ran a very successful gymnastics program at the Holiday Park Recreation Center. Holiday Park was the home to the USGF Eastem Gymnastics Clinic in the seventies. You could find Chris Everett. the great tennis player, hitting balls just across the street from the gym during that time.
Jack was a founder of the Florida Gymnastics Association and he provided the state gymnastic community with a humorous and to the heart newsletter for ten years. He was a mentor to Ron Gallmore, 1980 Olympian and Men’s Program Director for USA Gymnastics, and was a positive influence with a multitude of young gymnasts from the surrounding Ft. Lauderdale area.
Miles favorite event in gymnastics was the horizontal bar even though he won vaulting in the NCAA Championships when it was not part the all-around. He was NAAU flying ring champion and was able to transcend from flying rings to still rings on a high level. Jack invented and performed the “whippet” on the flying rings.
Jack is now retired and resides in Ft. Lauderdale with his wife Nancy. He is one of the great talents and personalities in the sport of gymnastics!
Bruce A. Davis, Professor Emeritus Miami Dade College, Director of Flip Flops & Fitness gymnastics school of Apollo Beach.
Publisher of www.Letstalkgymnastics.com Can be contacted at: (813)641-3375 or Brucedavis56@verizon.net
U. S. Gymnastics Hall of Fame entry