Mark Schultz: Mormon Athlete
Mark Schultz is an Olympic gold medalist in wrestling at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. He is also a two-time freestyle World champion wrestler. He is a distinguished member of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.
He was born on October 26, 1960, in Palo Alto, California. He started competing in gymnastics in high school and won the Northern California All-Around Gymnastics Championships in his age group. His parents divorced and he moved to Ashland, Oregon, during his junior year and switched to wrestling to overcome his lack of self-confidence. He shortly moved back to Palo Alto but was ineligible to compete for the rest of the year. He did not win any tournaments during his senior year, but worked with Stanford wrestling club wrestlers and at the state qualifiers, he took league, region, section, and state.
Schultz trained with his older brother, Dave Schultz, and wrestled at both UCLA and the University of Oklahoma. At Oklahoma, he finished his sophomore, junior, and senior years as the NCAA Champion. His senior year he was undefeated and set the university record for most victories in a single season without a loss.
Schultz is noted for competing in the 1984 Olympics with his brother Dave; both won gold in wrestling events. Mark Schultz won two additional world titles: the 1985 and 1987 World Championships. He competed in the 1988 Seoul Olympics, finishing in sixth place. He was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in 1995.
Dave Schultz was murdered in 1996. In 2010 the San Jose Sports Hall of Fame inducted both Mark and Dave. They also became the only American brothers to win World Championship and Olympic gold medals. Their wrestling lives are portrayed in the film Foxcatcher with Channing Tatum starring as Mark Schultz and Mark Ruffalo as Dave Schultz. The film portrays the death of Dave by John Du Pont, a philanthropist who sponsored both brothers. Mark Schultz wrote a nonfiction book, Foxcatcher: The True Story of My Brother's Murder, John du Pont's Madness, and the Quest for Olympic Gold (2014).
Mark was the assistant wrestling coach at Brigham Young University from 1991 to 1994; he was named head coach in 1994. BYU dropped wrestling and men’s gymnastics in 2000. While working for BYU, Schultz was baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Schultz entered martial arts competitions. He was named 1996 Ultimate Fighting Champion. He retired with a 1-0 no-holds-barred record. In January 2016, he was promoted to the rank of black belt by Jiu-Jitsu master Pedro Sauer of Brazil.
Included in his many awards and recognitions, Mark was inducted into the California Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2000, inducted into the San Jose Sports Hall of Fame in 2010, awarded the Lifetime Service Award by the California Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2013, and inducted into the San Mateo Peninsula Sports Hall of Fame in 2015.