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The legacy of Dave Schultz in American wrestling today



The legacy of Dave Schultz remains in the minds and hearts of thousands of people around the world who were touched by his special qualities and skills.

However, there are many other ways that Dave Schultz has been remembered by the wrestling community, some of which appear below.

Dave Schultz Memorial International Wrestling Championships

In 1999, USA Wrestling and Nancy Schultz worked together to create the first Dave Schultz Memorial Wrestling Championships, a major international wrestling tournament hosted in the United States. The first competition was held at Fort Carson, Colo. on Feb. 13, 1999, and featured athletes from the United States, Finland, Bulgaria, Japan, France, Austria, the Netherlands, Canada, Poland and Switzerland. The tournament featured men's freestyle and men's Greco-Roman wrestling.

The next year, the event moved to the U.S. Olympic Training Center (USOTC) in Colorado Springs, Colo., where it remains though the present time. Women's wrestling was added to the tournament, and it now features all three Olympic styles of the sport. Each year, wrestlers from around the world travel to the United States for a fantastic wrestling tournament, held in celebration of the life of Dave Schultz.

The 8th annual Dave Schultz Memorial International Tournament will be held at the USOTC on Feb 3-4, with as many as 20 nations expected to attend this year. As in other years, a number of World and Olympic medalists are expected to attend, as well as many of the top wrestlers from the United States.

Dave Schultz High School Excellence Award

The National Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum has created the Dave Schultz High School Excellence Award, presented annually to a high school senior wrestler. The award is based equally on outstanding wrestling success, scholastic achievement and citizenship or community service. Winners are chosen at the state and regional levels with the national winner being named at the Wrestling Hall of Fame's Honors Weekend each summer.

Past National winners of the Dave Schultz High School Excellence Award are:
2005 - Troy Nickerson of New York
2004 - Coleman Scott of Pennsylvania
2003 - C.P. Schlatter of Ohio
2002 - Teyon Ware of Oklahoma
2001 - Steve Mocco of New Jersey
2000 - Ben Connell of South Carolina
1999 - Zach Robertson of Kansas
1998 - Justin Ruiz of Utah and Garrett Lowney of Minnesota
1997 - Jeff Knupp of Ohio
1996 - David Kjeldgaard of Iowa

Dave Schultz Wrestling Club

One of the first responses to the tragic loss of Dave Schultz was the creation of the Dave Schultz Wrestling Foundation in 1996. The effort was spearheaded by Dave's wife Nancy, to provide an opportunity for Dave's wrestling club teammates and friends to have financial and coaching support during the remainder of the Olympic Trials process. Many people stepped forward, including USA Wrestling, the U.S. Olympic Committee, ASICS, and numerous individual donors to create the Dave Schultz Wrestling Club. It was initially considered a short-term program to assist the wrestlers affected

The first major impact made by the club occurred in the summer of 1996, when Dave Schultz WC member Kurt Angle had a spectacular performance at the Olympic Games in Atlanta, Ga., winning the gold medal at 100 kg/220 lbs. in freestyle wrestling. Instead of closing down the club after the Atlanta Games, Nancy Schultz, along with a group of wrestling leaders and coaches, decided to continue and expand the club's activities.

Over the years, the Dave Schultz WC has supported wrestlers in men's freestyle, men's Greco-Roman and women's freestyle wrestling, both on the Senior level as well as within USA Wrestling age-group programs. The history books tell the factual success story of the Dave Schultz WC, as many of its athletes went on to great achievements.

At the 2000 Olympic Games, Dave Schultz WC member Brandon Slay won the gold medal at 76 kg/167.5 pounds in men's freestyle wrestling in Sydney, Australia.

At the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece, Dave Schultz WC member Patricia Miranda won the bronze medal at 48 kg/105.5 pounds in women 's freestyle wrestling. It was the first Olympic medal ever awarded to a woman from any nation in history, as women's wrestling was making its Olympic debut in Athens.

In 1999, Dave Schultz WC member Stephen Neal won the gold medal at 130 kg/286 lbs. in men's freestyle wrestling at the World Championships in Ankara, Turkey.

Other Dave Schultz WC athletes to compete in the Olympic Games during the club's decade of excellence were Cary Kolat (men's freestyle) and Heath Sims (men's Greco-Roman) at the 2000 Olympic Games, and Tela O'Donnell (women's freestyle) at the 2004 Athens Olympics.

After 10 years, Nancy Schultz announced that the Dave Schultz Wrestling Club would cease operations at the conclusion of the 2004-5 year. "I have poured my heart and soul into this program, but now, for many personal reasons, it is time for me to turn my attention back to my family. I wanted to give back to this community which has given me so much. The wrestling family is my family and I will never leave it. I will always be involved in wrestling, and will support the sport and USA Wrestling,"

USA Wrestling Dave Schultz State Championships in California

The California USA Wrestling Board of Directors named its annual Kids/Cadet State Championships in memory of one of California's greatest wrestling legends, the late Dave Schultz. This year, the Dave Schultz Kids/Cadet Freestyle State Championships will be held at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, Calif., May 12-14. In addition, the FILA Junior Men's Freestyle and Greco-Roman Championships, as well as the FILA Junior Women's Championships will be held alongside the event in San Jose.

There are certainly other ways that the wrestling community remembers Dave Schultz. Any organization that has set up a memorial recognition of Dave Schultz and would like to have it added to this story, please send details to Gary Abbott of USA Wrestling at gabbott@usawrestling.org

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