The Mark Schultz Story

Mark Schultz vs Ed Banach 1982 NCAA Championships
Mark Schultz vs Ed Banach
1982 NCAA Championships

Mark Schultz is an Olympic and 2-time World champion freestyle wrestler and a Distinguished Member of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, the San Jose Sports Hall of Fame, and the California Wrestling Hall of Fame. Schultz is undefeated in Mixed Martial Arts with a record of 1-0.

He is one of the world’s most accomplished athletes. He participated in two Olympics, winning a Gold Medal (1984) and World Championships in 1985 and 1987. Olympian Magazine named Mark Schultz, “1987 Sportsman of the Year” and he was nominated for the Sullivan Award, as the USA’s best Olympic athlete. Mark is in the 1991 Guinness Book of World Records for most US World Titles (3) with Lee Kemp and John Smith.

Like many great athletes, Schultz’s life has not been easy. Through disappointments, hardships and tragedy, Mark persevered, overcame, fought and rose to become an Olympic champion and beyond.

Early Years

By the time Mark started wrestling in the 11th grade, his brother Dave, was already an accomplished wrestler. Dave was ambidextrous,  born with dyslexia, and became very confident due his wrestling prowess. Dave is regarded by many as the greatest high school wrestler in history. Dave won the US Open and California state title his senior year in high school.

Mark set 20 of 25 elementary school records but didn’t specialize in any sport. As a high school sophomore Mark quit all sports to specialize in gymnastics and won the Northern California All-Around Gymnastics title. Mark was a talented athlete but gymnastics did not give him the confidence he knew he needed to be happy. In the 11th grade Mark switched to tang soo do then to wrestling as he searched for the ultimate martial art. 

As a high school junior year with a record of 4-6 he transferred to California and began training with the Stanford wrestling team in his hometown of Palo Alto, CA. His senior year he wrestled in only two 16-team tournaments taking 3rd in one. In the post season state qualifiers he won the league, region, section, state. California has over 800 wrestling teams.

From NCAA to Olympic Gold

Dave and Mark return to Palo Alto Olympic Champions
Dave and Mark return to Palo Alto
as Olympic Champions

Dave and Mark eventually teamed up and became training partners through college and beyond.

The Schultz brothers won more NCAA, US Open, World, and Olympic titles than any American brother combination in wrestling history. The Schultz brothers are the only American brothers to win Olympic and World gold.

In 1982, Mark was named NCAA’s Outstanding Wrestler for winning what many consider the greatest NCAA match of all time. Iowa Hawkeye Ed Banach was on his way to becoming the first 4-time NCAA Champion in history when, in the 1982 finals in Ames, Iowa, Mark won 16-8.

The Schultz brothers went on to become 1984 Olympic Champions. Mark won the 1985 and 1987 Worlds then quit wrestling after murderer and spoiled rich kid who never grew up John E. duPont destroyed Mark’s wrestling career. Mark intentionally lost the last match of his wrestling career in the 1988 Olympics to protest duPont’s Team Foxcatcher and USA Wrestling’s lack of support.  The full story is in Mark’s New York Times best-seller “Foxcatcher“. The book has been translated in several languages and is available on Mark is in the 1991 Guinness Book of World Records for most US World and Olympic Titles along with Lee Kemp and John Smith.

See Mark’s wrestling résumé »

Team Foxcatcher back story

In 1988 Mark quit wrestling and left Team Foxcatcher for good. 1990 John E. du Pont built the largest training center in the United States. In 1990 Dave Schultz moved onto Foxcatcher Farms. Many world class wrestlers joined Team Foxcatcher as it was the only entity that paid wrestlers to compete. 

On January 26, 1996, Dave was murdered at his home on Foxcatcher Farm by John E. du Pont.

In the trial, Du Pont pleaded “not guilty by reason of insanity”. The insanity plea was rejected and the jury found him guilty of third degree murder but mentally ill. Sentenced to 13 to 30 years, du Pont died in prison on December 9, 2010.

Four months after Dave’s murder Mark competed in a “no-holds-barred” cage fight in UFC IX and won.

The Mark Schultz story is one of tragedy and triumph, curses and blessings, spirituality and the hard cold realities. His remarkable story caught the attention of Academy Award Nominated Director Bennett Miller, who turned it into a major motion picture Foxcatcher starring Channing Tatum as Mark Schultz, Mark Ruffalo as Dave Schultz, and Steve Carell as John E. Du Pont.

More about Foxcatcher – the Movie »