Shawn Rhoden : The Man Who Endured

HeightWeightDate of BirthNationality
‎5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)‎(off-season) 260 lb; (on-season) 240 lb2 April 1975Jamaican/American

Shawn Rhoden is an American Jamaican professional bodybuilder. Born on the 2nd of April, 1975, he is popularly known as Flexatron due to his calm demeanour while posing, and his perseverance in overcoming injuries and calamities in his life.

Facts about Shawn Rhoden

  • As he was growing up, he dreamt of being a soccer player.
  • He is a former alcoholic.
  • He earned his IFBB Pro card very late in his career; at the age of 35
  • His idols are Kai Greene, a contemporary bodybuilder, and Yohnnie Shambouger, an IFBB Pro.
  • His favourite muscle groups to work on are his shoulders and legs.
  • A bodybuilding competition in his name, the Shawn Rhoden Classic is held every year in the Philippines.


As a kid, Rhoden was very active and enjoyed playing soccer and cricket. At the age of 15, his family moved to the United States. At the age of 17, to improve his physique, Rhoden joined a nearby gym. Soon afterward, he met Yohnnie Shambouger, a former Mr. Universe winner, who guided Rhoden in the right direction.

Bodybuilding Career

Rhoden won his first competition, the National Eastern Classic in 1996. This victory was just 14 months after he suffered a horrific injury, which tore nine tendons in his right arm. The doctors told him that he wouldn’t be able to write or play video games again. He had proven them wrong. Unfortunately, his triumph was short lived. He suffered a severe back injury soon after that and could not exercise for six months.

Over the next few years, Rhoden managed to come in the top 3 of several renowned amateur bodybuilding competitions.

In 2002, Rhoden’s father passed away after battling lung cancer for a year. Subsequently, Rhoden became depressed and took to alcoholism.

For six years, he did not work out, and his life went into a downward spiral. With the support of his friends, he decided to go for rehabilitation. On his return to bodybuilding, he won the 2009 IFBB North American Championship. He was now eligible for an IFBB Pro card. An IFBB Pro card allows an individual to participate in contests with prize money. Finally, after ten years of setbacks, he had managed to become a professional bodybuilder.

In 2011, he managed to qualify for the prestigious Mr. Olympia competition. Although he placed only 11th, it was a step in the right direction. His misfortune seemed to have turned around. Over the next four years, he managed to win several high profile competitions and placed 3rd at the Mr. Olympia thrice.

In 2016, he almost reached his dream of being the best bodybuilder in the world. He achieved 2nd place at the 2016 Mr. Olympia. It was the closest he had ever come to winning it.



Most people consider bodybuilding a single man sport. Rhoden disagrees with this idea. He has always stated that it is a team effort. To be successful on the big stage, one would require a good nutritionist, good coaches, and sponsors. Bodybuilding is not a cheap sport. Supplements, nutritious food and traveling around the world need a hefty sum of money. Being surrounded by people who have a positive mind-set and are supportive has been the key to Rhoden’s success.

Perseverance and grit are the cornerstones to Rhoden’s success. Bouncing back from his two career-threatening injuries and overcoming the grief of his father’s death shaped him into a tenacious individual, who is ready to face anything that might come his way. The only goal he is yet to achieve is the Mr. Olympia status. Winning the Mr. Olympia would be a testament to his resolve. Perhaps this year, at the 2017 Mr. Olympia he can fulfil his lifelong dream.

Contest History

  • 2017 Mr. Olympia – 5th
  • 2016 Mr. Olympia – 2nd
  • 2016 Kuwait Pro Men’s Bodybuilding – 3rd place
  • 2015 EVL’s Prague Pro – 3rd
  • 2015 Mr. Olympia – 3rd
  • 2014 IFBB San Marino Pro – 1st
  • 2014 EVL’s Prague Pro – 3rd
  • 2014 Dubai Pro – 2nd
  • 2014 IFBB Arnold Classic Europe – 2nd
  • 2014 Mr. Olympia – 3rd
  • 2014 IFBB Australian Pro – 1st
  • 2014 IFBB Arnold Classic – 2nd
  • 2013 IFBB Arnold Classic Europe – 4th
  • 2013 Mr. Olympia – 4th
  • 2012 IFBB EVL’s Prague Pro – 2nd
  • 2012 IFBB British Grand Prix – 1st
  • 2012 IFBB Arnold Classic Europe – 1st
  • 2012 Mr. Olympia – 3rd
  • 2012 IFBB Dallas Europa Supershow – 1st
  • 2012 IFBB PBW Tampa Pro – 1st
  • 2012 NPC Dexter Jackson Classic – NP
  • 2012 IFBB Arnold Classic – 8th
  • 2012 IFBB FLEX Pro – 4th
  • 2011 Mr. Olympia – 11th
  • 2011 IFBB Dallas Europa Super Show – 3rd
  • 2010 IFBB Dallas Europa Super Show – 16th
  • 2009 IFBB North American Championships – 1st
  • 2009 NPC Delaware Open Bodybuilding – 1st
  • 2001 NPC Team Universe Championships – 2nd
  • 2000 NPC Team Universe Championships – 4th
  • 1999 NPC Team Universe Championships – 3rd

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