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Dave and Mark Schultz are banging heads again. Thomp! and there it is—a blue-gray lump rising on Mark's forehead. Thwack! Mark comes back with a fist. The swelling starts over Dave's left eye. Thud! The two brothers crash to the floor of the Stanford University wrestling room. But they're up and...crack! Mark has butted Dave in the face like a crazed bull. Groaaan! Dave's nose is gushing blood and he's checking for loose teeth. Mark is holding the top of his head, which has been sliced open and will need three stitches. Mark's white T shirt is so bloodstained it looks as if it had come off a victim in Friday the 13th. Another wrestler rushes out to wipe sweat and blood off the mat when...crunch! Mark throws a headlock on his brother, and the two of them are back at it, rolling on the floor in a death struggle....
So goes practice. "I need Mark to keep me sharp," says Dave later, in a nasal grunt, toilet paper stuffed up his nostrils. "I want him to be an Olympic champion, and he wants me to be an Olympic champion," explains Mark.
These are the wrestling Schultzes, stiletto versus sledgehammer, deftness against demolition, 163-pound Olympian battling 180½-pound Olympian. Dave, 25, a former NCAA titlist for Oklahoma University and America's only current world champion, is the older, smaller, craftier one—a Yoda-like master of the mats, hobbling around on gimpy knees. "It's always been the trickery of the sport that attracted me," he says. Mark, 23, a three-time NCAA champion at OU, is bigger, stronger and more aggressive, a massively muscled head-on attacker. "I'm more straight shots and basics," he says. Because they value their friendship—and life and limb—the Schultzes fight it out only in practice drills such as this takedown session. "We would never wrestle each other in a real match," says Mark. "I don't know who'd win and I don't want to find out."
Taram Magomadov might bet on Dave. Magomadov was the Soviet whom Dave put away 11-6 in the 163-pound final at last September's world championships in Kiev. Soviet wrestlers had been knocking off Americans one after another at the meet, and Magomadov surely felt confident facing this balding, bearded, unimposing fellow from California. He jumped out to a 4-0 lead over Schultz in little more than a minute. "Guys have certain tactics, and I study them. Then I try to do what screws 'em up best," says Dave, explaining what followed. He found Magomadov vulnerable to the gut-wrench, a maneuver in which one wrestler squeezes another around the waist from behind and rolls him to his back for points. So Schultz put a gut-wrench to Magomadov three straight times to build a 7-4 lead after the first of two three-minute periods. Late in the second period, he wrapped up his victory with a couple of two-point headlock rolls. For an hour and a half afterward he was mobbed by wrestling-savvy Ukrainians seeking autographs. "I should move here now," said Dave at the time. "In Palo Alto nobody knows who I am." As it turned out, he was the only Western-bloc wrestler to come away with a title.
Still, in a battle of Schultzes, Ed Banach might put his money on Mark. Banach, then an Iowa junior, came to the 1982 NCAA championships in Ames with two straight NCAA 177-pound titles behind him and two more presumably ahead of him. He looked likely to become the first four-time NCAA champ in history. Meanwhile, Mark, who had won the NCAA 167-pound title as a sophomore, had moved up to 177 as a junior to challenge Banach. In the finals at Ames, he took Banach apart, 16-8, to earn the meet's outstanding-wrestler award. "Mark is an animal when he's healthy," says his brother. "Wrestling against him teaches me what I can't do." Banach had learned what he couldn't do; he moved up to 190 the next year and won his third NCAA championship. Mark remained at 177 and picked up his third national title, winning his final 44 matches.
"Three-time NCAA champion," says Mark, savoring the words. "There are only 30 of us in the world."
"NCAA champs are a dime a dozen," answers Dave, who won his lone collegiate title in 1982 after placing second and third in previous years. "Now, when you start talking about world champions...." Dave is grinning broadly. He knows how easily Mark can be stirred up. Unfortunately, he doesn't know how he can be calmed down. Three hours later Dave leaves practice with a swollen forehead, loose front teeth and a nearly broken nose.
In a sport filled with brother acts (Ed Banach and his twin, Lou, are also on this year's Olympic team), Dave and Mark Schultz are the best U.S. pair since two-time Olympic medalists Ben (gold in '72, silver in '76) and John (silver in '72, gold in '76) Peterson. "You know Dave will wrestle well because he's so consistent," says Stanford coach Chris Horpel, who has worked with the Schultzes since they were teenagers. "Mark is more on-and-off, but when he's on he can blow everybody away, Soviets included. Not just beat them, but annihilate them."
The two Schultzes constitute one-fifth of America's Olympic freestyle entry this summer in Los Angeles, having qualified for the U.S. team in late June at the wrestling trials at Grand Valley State College in Allendale, Mich., where Dave had to beat another world champion, Lee Kemp, in the finals. In L.A., they're good bets to win gold medals, especially Dave, though he will first have to get by 1981 world champion Martin Knosp of West Germany. "It would be the best feeling you could have," says Mark, whose principal challenger at the Games figures to be Turkey's Resit Karabacak. "It'd be...better than making a million dollars."
"Well, maybe not that good," says Dave.