Whether from fatigue, sloppy technique or inexperience (international rules are drastically different from those governing U.S. collegiate wrestling), the Americans wrestled so poorly in early matches that six of the 10-member team, including Schultz's brother Mark, a 181.5-pounder, were soon eliminated. Gable, who won a gold medal in the 1972 Games and will coach the U.S. Olympic freestyle team next year, wished he'd had more than just a couple of weeks to train his world championship squad. "There was really only one practice where I felt comfortable and worked as hard as I like," he said. "The next day the comments I got were like, 'Were you mad at us, Coach? Why'd you make us do that?' " Rest assured that before next year's Games, Gable will put U.S. wrestlers through many more of his rigid drills, the kind he has used in coaching Iowa to six straight NCAA titles. "I'm going for 10 gold medals in L. A.," he says.
After Thursday night, Schultz can imagine the joy of winning one himself. He was mobbed by Soviet fans seeking autographs and by local reporters struggling with English translations and biographical data and the concept of Boomer Sooner ("Oklahoma Institute of Physical Culture?" "No, University"). Schultz carried his winnings with him: a huge gold medal, a small gold medal, a certificate, a heavy lead-crystal vase, one pink rose and a massive championship belt. A friend on the Soviet team brought him champagne and caviar. "I should move here now," said Schultz. For once, Soviets and Americans were mingling, and there was warmth.