Our Story

About Markhor Athletics

In 1978, Van Horneff attended a gymnastics meet at Penn State University. By chance, he found himself seated next to the parents of two children who were invited as special guests of the meet director. The 8 and 11 year old children had become paraplegic following a traumatic accident...

The parents explained how their children hadn’t been injured in the studio or gym, but rather in their home. Sharing how their kids had loved to practice in a carpeted room, it was alarming just how quickly a tragic mistake had changed their lives irrevocably. Perhaps equally upsetting was that their parents had initially searched in vain for gymnastic mats suitable for home use.

Moved by what he had seen, Van founded what would become Markhor Athletics with the mission of providing the safest, highest quality gymnastic mats suitable for home or gym use. Rather than selling to distributors, only to have them mark up the product, the Van Horneff mat sold wholesale to everyone -- including studios, teachers, and parents.

Fast forward 40 years and two generations later, we’re still here.