by Eddie Goldman
“Foxcatcher” is here. The book and film of the same name have been publicly released, with the movie opening in many more cities around the world in the coming weeks and months.
Based on the life story of Olympic champion wrestler Mark Schultz and the 1996 murder of his brother, fellow Olympic champion Dave Schultz, by the crazed multi-millionaire John du Pont, interviews with Mark and reviews of the film seem to be everywhere. This wrestling-based real-life story is being discussed widely by media outlets whose writers, editors, hosts, and producers usually cannot tell the difference between a sit-out and a sit-in.
All this attention to this wrestling story is also widely bringing exposure, both to the positive attributes of the sport as well as its negative aspects, to new audiences, of all ages. Wrestling, for better or worse, is now, for however brief a time, in the media spotlight.
The film, said Mark Schultz in an interview on No Holds Barred, “is going to make wrestling a part of pop culture.”
He also noted that he is not doing all he has done to popularize this story for his own glory, but that the most important thing to him in this whole project of this book and film is “immortalizing my brother.” Few will argue that he has not succeeded in doing precisely that.
And for that we have to thank him. He may be too modest to admit it, but by writing this book, getting it into the hands of noted film director Bennett Miller, and inspiring this highly-acclaimed film to be made, he has done more to promote the sport of wrestling than anyone else has in a long time.
So while the positive reviews roll in, and the speculation about how many Academy Awards this film and the people involved in it will win, let us also acknowledge Mark Schultz’s unique contributions to the sport of wrestling. (He is already a Distinguished Member of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, having been inducted in 1995.)
Somebody, somewhere, give him an award. He has dedicated so much of his life to the sport which brought him fame and notoriety, so it is way overdue that we honor and salute him for that.
You can play or download the Mark Schultz interview on No Holds Barred here:
Photo of Dave and Mark Schultz, courtesy of Mark Schultz.
(Eddie Goldman is host and producer of the No Holds Barred podcast, at EddieGoldman.com.)