Imagine your happy life quickly spiraling downwards into a dark abyss.
Imagine drinking so much that you start to pee blood and your body shuts down. Imagine being so depressed that you basically give up and try to commit suicide twice. How many of you would be able to recover from that, turn your life around and eventually achieve your biggest goal in your chosen profession?
Shawn Rhoden is one of those who fortunately emerged from that very dark place, and last night he realized a life long goal when one simple phrase was uttered on the Olympia stage in Las Vegas:
How do you beat a man that has nothing to loose?. Who Doesn’t know how to quit? You can’t . Don’t ever stop believing in yourself. Don’t ever give up, never stop fighting. Fight until there is no more fight. – Would love to take second to thank, our president Jim Manion. Robin Chang with AMI for a great production. Steve Wienburger and all the amazing judges. To me fellow athlete who pushes me every year by continuing to make improvements. To @philheath our 7 time champion, you push me more than anyone. Because of you I am a better bodybuilder and athlete. To my coaches @therealtechnician for believing in me since 2012, there is no one Ike you. @psychofitness21 for beating the carp out of me day in and day out. @stanimal9 love you brother, you stayed in the trenches with me and push me every day. To the loves of my life @michelle_sugarsb and Cora. Thank you for the inspiration, motivation and giving me a purpose to do what I do. You are my strength. To my family Richardson and Rhoden love you guys. Thank you poppy. To all the fans that believe in me. I appreciate the continued support. Told you guys I would never let you down. I did this for you and you and you and yes you. #thebestisyettocome #shawnrhoden #bodybuilding #thebestisyettocome #flexatron #nevergiveup #dontquit @hummerusafitness @feastmodeflavors @herbstrong @bevsgym @ifbb_pro_league @schieksportsinc @trifectasystem
301.1k Likes, 9,363 Comments – Shawn Rhoden (@flexatronrhoden) on Instagram: “How do you beat a man that has nothing to loose?. Who Doesn’t know how to quit? You can’t . Don’t…”
“And….NEW Olympia champion!”
It was a journey fulfilled, complete with obstacles, challenges, death, life, hard work and promises kept. And just like his life, last night was no easy victory either as he was facing off against fellow athletes who brought some of their best conditioning and size, including the seven-time champion, Phil Heath.
In the prejudging on Friday, it was apparent that the top four was set with Phil, Shawn, Roelly Winklaar and William Bonac. Roelly was in the best shape of his career, moving up a few spots from last year’s competition. Bonac was in shape was always but all the chatter on social media was that it was coming down to two people, Phil and Shawn.
Phil was the reigning Mr. Olympia with seven consecutive victories, one short of tying legends Lee Haney and Ronnie Coleman. Phil, as always, looked sharp, and was ahead on Friday evening. But fans were buzzing about Rhoden’s physique, saying it was the best they had seen, even better than 2016 when he came in second to Heath. It was also a big turnaround from last year when Shawn suffered through injuries and sickness, finishing a disappointing fifth. But last night, all of that was in the past and Shawn got to raise his first Sandow trophy and a $400,000 check to the cheers from a raucous crowd who knew they had witnessed an amazing competition.
It was an interesting weekend overall as we saw a combination of new champions and repeat victories.
Phil Heath, for the first time in eight years, took second place.
In the 212, Flex Lewis captured his seventh consecutive title and announced his retirement on stage. Angelica Teixeira defended her Ms. Bikini crown, Cydney Gillon retained her Ms. Figure title and Breon Ansley did the same in Classic Physique.
New winners included Brandon Hendrickson in Men’s Physique, Shanique Grant in Women’s Physique and Whitney Jones in Fitness. In addition, Roelly Winklaar took home the belt in a newly created award, the People’s Champion, which was decided by online fan voting. Based upon the response from those in attendance, it was much deserved.
It was another amazing Olympia weekend and an even better story for the new Mr. Olympia champion, Shawn Rhoden.