Olympic gold medal-winning wrestler Mark Schultz chatted via telephone with Greek-American journalist Markos Papadatos about his new book “Foxcatcher: The True Story of My Brother’s Murder, John du Pont’s Madness, and the Quest for Olympic Gold.”
It was co-written with award-winning sports journalist David Thomas. “So, in 2012, I tried to get this book published. I hired this literary agent and his ghostwriter and they came up with a plan to get it published, but they couldn’t do it. So, I got frustrated with them and got a new literary agent who got me a new ghostwriter, and we sat down and re-wrote the book in 2013. Then, the movie was released on November 14 and the book was released on November 18. It was published three times faster, since they took advantage of the publicity around the movie. I got lucky in a lot of ways. A lot of miracles happened and it sort of fell into place perfectly,” he said.
On collaborating with David Thomas on this book, Schultz said, “He is great. He is known for his ability to write books rapidly but with precision and artfulness. His style is different than mine, but it doesn’t matter to me. I just wanted to get my story out there.”
Schultz noted that writing this book was a cathartic process for the respected wrestler. “It definitely was. It was a relief knowing that all of the suffering that David and I went through and the training and it was going to be remembered by somebody. It was a relief to know that all of that was not wasted,” he said.
Channing Tatum portrayed Mark Schultz in the motion picture Foxcatcher, which was directed by Bennett Miller, and the Olympic wrestler himself served as a mentor to the actor. “First time I met him, I was star-struck and so emotional, just for the enormity of who he was. It was just incredible. I was stunning. When they told me
Channing was going to play me, I looked up to heaven and said ‘yes.’ This was before he was named ‘Sexiest Man Alive.’ I knew that he was the best guy to play me. He was athletic enough and he looked real. He and I looked similar when I was younger. Back then, I was smoking hot,” he said with a laugh.
While the book and the movie share the same name, it is clear they are two separate artistic endeavors. The book is Mark Schultz’s memoir whereas the movie is Miller’s film about John Pu Point, the wealthiest American ever to be convicted of murder, and his relationship with Mark and Dave Schultz, the only two brothers to have ever both won gold at the same Olympiad. Not surprisingly, Mark is named an associate producer in the credits of the film as his input and version of the events proved fascinating to the movie-maker and many of those same details are found in Schultz’s memoir.
Schultz praised Bennett Miller for his creativity and his intelligence. “He listens very carefully, and he is a great observer. He stuck to the heart and soul of the story,” Schultz said.
Regarding his future plans, Schultz shared that he is writing a screenplay, another book, and he is a motivational speaker for Keppler Speakers. “I am going to get married too,” he said. “I work out all the time. I have a lot of injuries, so I go to the doctor a lot,” he added.
Schultz’ book has garnered rave reviews from fans and critics. “It was a relief. We put in a lot of hard work,” he said.
Aside from winning the Olympic gold medal, Schultz was a three-time NCAA champion, as well as two-time world champion in free-style wrestling and a member of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.
Over the last five years, he shared that he has seen a lot of miracles and a lot of hard work. “There has been a lot of hardship and a lot of adversity and a lot of reward. The harder the adversity, the greater the reward,” he said.
He concluded, “The harder you work, the more miracles happen in your life. What is humanly impossible is possible if you have faith, and you work hard and you never quit.”
Schultz simply defined the word success as “winning” in life. It is safe to say that he is a true winner.
For more information on Olympian Mark Schultz, check out his official website www.markschultz.com.
Photo credit: Tim Tidball