Kerry Boumans of the USA celebrates after scoring an overtime takedown to defeat Bogdan Ciufelescu of Romania, 6-5 in the 58 kg finals of the first Dave Schultz Memorial International in 1999. USA Wrestling file photo.
In 1999, the Dave Schultz Memorial International was an idea, a cooperative effort between USA Wrestling and the Dave Schultz Wrestling Foundation to create an international wrestling tournament in memory of the late Olympic and World champion Dave Schultz.
It was not just that a great champion had been taken away from the wrestling family. Dave Schultz had embodied what an ambassador of international goodwill and sportsmanship should be, in who he was and how he lived. The concept was to celebrate his life and legacy in the most appropriate way, at an international competition in his honor.
USA Wrestling will be featuring important stories and athletes who have created the legacy of the Dave Schultz Memorial International, which will celebrate its 20th anniversary when hosted at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., Nov. 1-4.
We start with the inaugural Dave Schultz Memorial event, which was held at the U.S. Army Post Field House at Fort Carson, Colo., February 12-13, 1999.
There had been a small Senior wrestling competition in Colorado Springs for a few years, the Colorado Open, which provided some good competition for Americans in previous years. The concept was to expand that into a full-scale international competition in men’s freestyle and Greco-Roman, invite nations from around the world, and encourage the top U.S. athletes in the nation to attend.
The event needed a home, and the leaders of the U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program at Fort Carson stepped up and help secure the U.S. Army Post Field House at Fort Carson. It provided enough space for mats and spectator seating for the inaugural event in a unique setting near historic Cheyenne Mountain which is located west of the base.