The Disturbing Truth Of The Millionaire Who Murdered An Olympic Athlete

Some people crave to be around others who excel in a specific field. For example, the owner of a basketball team might like to hang around his players. It's usually harmless, but there are times that it can become decidedly less so. Case in point: John du Pont. A millionaire, du Pont was a man with an extensive education who had written several books. Eventually, he became obsessed with wrestling — the collegiate and Olympic type, not the sports entertainment version (via Biography). Notably, he donated money to Villanova University to build an arena for the school's new wrestling team on the condition that he be the coach. Although he was ousted quickly after sexual abuse allegations, he was undeterred and built a wrestling center, which he recruited for heavily. 

Things got worse for du Pont after his mother passed away in 1988. Her passing sent his mental state into a downward spiral, and the millionaire soon said that he saw ghosts in his home. He also went to a wrestling meet and told the organizers that he should be referred to as the Dalai Lama, which surely would have come as a surprise to the real one. Unfortunately for Dave Schultz — a wrestler that had won a gold medal in the 1984 Olympics and harbored aspirations of making a triumphant return in the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta — du Pont's descent into madness turned fatal. 

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.

John du Pont died in prison

Dave Schultz went to work for John du Pont, and the wrestler was viewed by others as being one of the few who could handle the millionaire's behavior. Unfortunately, du Pont was under paranoid delusions, and he went to Schultz's house on campus and shot him at 2:00 p.m. on January 26, 1995, via the Chicago Tribune. Afterward, there was a stand-off at Foxcatcher Farm that lasted for two days until du Pont was finally captured. He stood trial, and while he was viewed as being mentally ill, he was still convicted of third-degree murder. 

After the trial and sentencing, du Pont never saw the light of day as a free man, per Biography. His lawyers tried to appeal quite a few times, but ultimately he died at Laurel Highlands State Prison from pneumonia at the age of 72. Of course, there was drama after his death, too. He had left his estate to a Bulgarian wrestler named Valentin Jordanov Dimitrov, which incensed du Pont's relatives. They wanted to have that will overturned, no doubt due to the state of the millionaire's mind when he wrote the will. 

The story of du Pont intrigued Hollywood, and in 2014, Steve Carell played the murderer in "Foxcatcher," which came out in 2014. Other luminaries like Mark Ruffalo and Channing Tatum were also in the movie. That will be du Pont's lasting legacy — his madness translated to the silver screen.