Shawn “Flexatron” Rhoden began bodybuilding in 1992. What has transpired since then has been nothing less than spectacular. In ’92, Shawn met former Mr. Universe, Yohnnie Shambourger. Shambourger provided Shawn with the building blocks to create one of the most sculpted, muscular physiques in the nation taking a 155-lb frame and turning it into currently a 260-lbs (in the off season) of solid muscle. Shawn’s success did not come without a price. He had to overcome injuries and illness to achieve his best Physique.
In the mid 90’s, he tore 9 tendons in his right hand and was told that he would never be able to write, use a hammer, play the piano or lift weights. After 14 months from this injury, he won the Natural Eastern Classic in New Jersey. In 1996, Shawn had to take some time off due to a back injury from squatting over 500lbs. Shawn went on to compete and place top 3 for a few years, notably at the NPC Team Universe and the IFBB North American Championships.
In 2002, having gone through the grief of losing his father to lung cancer, he spiraled down into alcoholism. His father to him, was a source of great strength and to watch his father go through the stages of cancer, it was very hard on Shawn. For the next 7 years, he turned to alcohol to drown his sorrows until one day he went to the bathroom and urinated blood. He stopped alcohol cold turkey and turned his focus back into bodybuilding. He joined the 2009 IFBB North America, where he placed second in his class just 8 years prior, and won the Overall earning his IFBB Pro Card.
In 2012, a few months after Shawn had a hernia surgery, he met coach Chris Aceto through the guidance of Jay Cutler. Shawn just wanted to place well at the Europa Dallas where he placed out of the top 10 on his Pro debut, but Chris had something else in mind. How about winning Europa Dallas and placing 3rd at the Olympia? Shawn won his first Pro show at the Tampa Pro and the Europa Dallas show that year and placed 3rd at the Olympia.
In 2013, Shawn did a lot of traveling for his sponsor and placed 4th at the Olympia. He has committed to continue competing throughout 2014 reclaiming his 3rd place position at the Olympia. 2015 placed him third once again at a very controversial Olympia. He earned his best Olympia placing in 2016 with 2nd place the year his baby girl was born. In 2017, he fell and broke his jaw forcing him to eat his meal prep through a straw, but still earned a respectable top 5 finish.
In 2018 Shawn’s entire Olympia focus and motivation source was his family. He wanted to be a good father to provide for his family. This fueled a fire that has never been unleashed and it paid off. He started his own nutrition company with the help of Chris Aceto to show the world that their product works. With Chris Lewis as his trainer and Chris Aceto coaching him, he showed his very best physique ever. Winning over the overwhelming support from the Olympia fans and the judges awarded him the title of 2018 Mr Olympia. Shawn is one of only 14 people who has won the coveted most prestigious title in the sport of bodybuilding and he earned it at 43years old making Shawn the oldest bodybuilder to win the Mr Olympia title.
Shawn is not only an incredible bodybuilder in terms of the package that he brings to the stage, but he also has an incredible fighting spirit, work ethic and the heart of a champion which are the qualities that will take him as far as he wants to go in the sport. Shawn “Flexatron” Rhoden is a true champion and his message to everyone is to not give up on your dreams, however impossible these may seem. For a man who has no quit, it is fitting that his favorite quote is “The best is yet to come”