It’s been 10 years, but Dave Schultz’s legend, his mystical status, still exists. Resting in her Los Gatos, Calif., home, Nancy Schultz spoke about her late husband, Dave Schultz, a decade after the Olympic wrestler was shot to death.
For the first time in the 10-year history of the Dave Schultz Memorial International wrestling tournament at the Olympic Training Center, Nancy could not be present. She’s recovering from surgery that repaired a pinched nerve and degenerative vertebrae. The second generation of wrestlers — those who did not wrestle with or against Schultz — are coming through the Olympic ranks. “One of the things I want this generation to know is the way he opened his mind to everyone he talked to about wrestling,” she said. “He was constantly hungry for information. I watched him go up to a high school kid and ask, “How did you do that?’” Few would argue Schultz was the best technical wrestler America’s had. He taught himself Russian, relished in foreign relationships, making him legendary overseas. The stories told by all generations prove Schultz’s memories linger: - Lindsey Durlacher, the Greco-Roman 121-division winner on Saturday, who was 21 when Schultz died: “I saw him at the NCAA Tournament in 1994. He was walking by himself, with his sweat pants on and an old beat-up T-shirt. I recognized him — ‘Hey. That’s Dave Schultz. I’m going to go up and shake his hand.’ I walked right up to him, he looked at me with a big grand old smile and almost giggly. We shook hands, I didn’t say much. But I remember the smile on his face was just the grandest, happiest smile.” - Kevin Jackson, national coach, of a 1991 experience in Tbilisi, Russia: “(Schultz) was thrown out of the match. The fans got so angry, they started throwing oranges and coins, screaming at the officials. They finally got everything under control after about 15 minutes. The crowd was still going crazy. When they handed out awards, they gave both him and the Russian a gold medal and said it was a draw. So the Russian got (shafted). Said they’re both DQ’d. Just to appease the crowd.” - T.C. Danztler, 163-pound Greco-Roman Schultz champion: “When I went to a tournament in Iran, they all ask about Dave Schultz. They ask if I remember certain matches he had.” - Mitch Hull, USA Wrestling National Teams director, who practiced with Schultz: “I felt sorry for anyone lucky enough to take him down. Like everyone else, I was worried about being put out cold.” On “TheMat.com,” under international forums, people are sharing their personal stories about Schultz. As of 8:30 p.m. Saturday, the thread had 29 stories and received 2,738 views.