(Zain Retherford winning the 2023 World Championships in Belgrade, Serbia)
Zain Retherford, the newly-crowned 2023 World Freestyle Champion, shares his insights on two remarkable aspects of his championship wrestling journey: the Sly Fox wrestling shoe and embodying the Dave Schultz Spirit. With Zain’s exceptional achievements in the wrestling world, his candid perspective offers valuable glimpses into the Sly Fox, his choice of wrestling shoe. Zain also discusses his Warrior’s Mindset, and why he is able to go ALL-IN and ALL-OUT.
What is your favorite thing about the Sly Fox wrestling shoes, and why do you choose to wear them?
"I wear the Sly Fox wrestling shoe for one because I like the split-sole design. It's super flexible and conforms well to your foot. I also like the way that the heel cup is super secure. I used to sprain my ankles in certain wrestling shoes in the past, and I feel that the Sly Fox offers a lot of stability, and it really feels good on my foot. It's also very breathable. When I get done with a workout, like a super sweaty one, it's ready the next day. It makes me feel good. I like it, and I like what it represents."
What does it mean to embody the Schultz Spirit?
"I think of everything that Dave Schultz stood for as a wrestler and as a person. As a wrestler, he was known for being tenacious, not letting his opponents really score any points, not giving up anything, and just inflicting his will. He was so strong and was very good at wearing his opponents down. One of my favorite moves of Dave's is his Bow & Arrow. I used it a lot in college, and it's a super painful move. Those are the things that I think embody the Schultz Spirit, as well as just being a great human being. Everyone has good things to say about Dave Schultz."
What is the one thing that Dave's story has taught you?
"Dave's story has taught me a lot. One thing I learned from his wrestling career is to just be yourself. It seemed like every time Dave took the mat, he was always himself. He was tenacious and was always looking for ways to inflict his will upon his opponent. You could tell his opponents would just break from his strength, his speed, and his technique. That is the one thing that I take from his wrestling.
From Dave's life, one thing I take away is that every time I hear people talk about Dave Schultz, they think he was their best friend. I think that's a really unique thing. I don't think everyone can say that. It just sounds like he was a world-class human being on top of being a world-class wrestler. I wish I could have met him. I feel like I would have loved to pick his brain; and talk about life and wrestling. I think I would have learned a lot from Dave Schultz, and even though I didn't get to know him personally, watching his YouTube videos and how he competed, I learned a lot, even now.