In the land of elite US Olympic wrestlers, there was—and is—the Champ of Champions: David Schultz. This year marks the 20th remembrance of David’s untimely death, as captured in the movie Foxcatcher.
David and I were teammates on the 1984 Olympic Team. I observed firsthand his gifts as a wrestler and a bridge builder. He earned a gold medal in 1984 for his world-class performance, and he continued—in the spirit of the Olympics—to create global goodwill for our sport.
Travel the four corners of the globe, and David was the Hometown Hero wherever he went. Whether he competed in Russia, Cuba, or the USA, the local fans recognized his talent and connected with him on a personal level. David Schultz was perhaps our sport’s greatest ambassador. Indeed, he brought nations together through his embracing personality and love of humanity.
Wrestling aficionados understood that while David appeared physically better suited to a math lab, he was the ultimate technician. He had the will to win and the mind of a warrior. That’s why David occupied the 163-pound weight class for a decade, nationally and internationally.
As David came of age in the late 1970s, the field of wrestling superstars included Schalles, Dziedzic, and Kemp, each of whom would earn international awards and world champion status. Steel indeed sharpens steel as these four men contested for a decade and carved their way into the annals of wrestling.
Now, as we look back 20 years in remembrance, one truth remains: Dave was our sport’s Champ of Champions. This is true for the man he was to his immediate family—and also to the wrestling family across the globe.
We miss you, David, and our prayers remain with your family.