Will Shawn Rhoden compete at the Mr. Olympia again?
Shawn Rhoden defeating Phil Heath at the 2018 Mr. Olympia was one of the biggest upsets in the history of the sport. Fast forward to 2021 and Rhoden still has not defended his title.
Mr. Olympia Shawn Rhoden, still has not been given the opportunity to defend the title he won in 2018, after defeating seven time winner Phil Heath.
Complicated legal issues has kept Shawn Rhoden from stepping on the Mr. Olympia stage in 2019 and 2020.
Shawn Rhoden was allegedly charged with rape, which he denies and he still has not been sentenced in court.
Technically, Shawn Rhoden is innocent until proven guilty, so what is holding him back from competing at the Mr. Olympia?
Days after it was revealed that Shawn Rhoden was charged with rape, the former owner of the Olympia Weekend, AMI, decided that it was best for Shawn Rhoden not to compete at the 2019 event.
NPC/Pro League President Jim Manion respected AMI’s decision, but soon after it was revealed that the NPC/Pro League would not take any action against Rhoden.
The Olympia Weekend is a privately owned event and the NPC/Pro League could not force them to allow Rhoden to compete, so they had to respect their decision.
With the 2019 Mr. Olympia taking place without Shawn Rhoden defending his title, Brandon Curry would go on to win the title. Phil Heath was also missing as he needed more time to recover from major surgery and take care of other projects.
While Covid-19 caused havoc to the bodybuilding world, Shawn Rhoden was still making the headlines regarding his participation for the 2020 Mr. Olympia.
As the date for the 2020 Olympia Weekend was getting closer, Rhoden finally confirmed that he would not be competing for the second year in a row.
When asked about his plans for the 2020 Mr. Olympia, Shawn said that there is a process that has to be finalized before he can ever step on stage again.
Shawn continued saying that the next time he steps on stage, he does not want to have anything taking the focus away from his training, he wants to be 100% focused.
A lot has happened between 2018 and 2021. The Olympia Weekend was sold to Jake Wood and Shawn Rhoden is still innocent until proven guilty.
With Jake Wood purchasing the Olympia Weekend, many believed that he would respect Rhoden’s rights and give him the opportunity to step on the Mr. Olympia stage.
This unfortunately did not happen and Rhoden was still absent from the competition.
Shawn was the oldest bodybuilder in the history of the Mr. Olympia contest to win the title at 43 years and five months.
If Shawn was given the nod to compete in 2021, he would be stepping on stage at the age of 46.
At 46, would Shawn Rhoden still be a threat to the much younger Big Ramy or even Brandon Curry?
Rhoden can proudly say that he has defeated the majority of bodybuilders that step on the Mr. Olympia stage, including Big Ramy and Brandon Curry in the past. At the same time he was younger.
Not competing for close to three years can be a difficult situation for Rhoden. As all professional bodybuilders know, when the momentum stops, it can be very difficult to return their best.
There is a big chance that Rhoden could possibly place out of the top three. This would destroy him.
Shawn has been training regularly, but it has been close to three years since he has been in contest shape.
Rhoden’s close friend and dietician, Chris Aceto, has been very vocal about this situation.
Chris is on record attacking the Olympia Weekend organizers about their decision to not allow Shawn Rhoden to compete.
Aceto has always put the argument forward that Rhoden is innocent until proven guilty and he has the right to compete.
The Olympia Weekend organizers believe it is in their best interest to keep Rhoden out of the show until he solves his legal problems.
It is a known fact that numerous judges, NPC/Pro League officials and athletes have done time in jail or had their own personal legal problems, but they continue to participate in events.
Some of the major sponsors for the Olympia Weekend are also allegedly facing some serious legal problems. But in their case, they are giving sponsorships to the Olympia organizers, in return, they can continue doing what they do and promote their brand.
While Shawn Rhoden has not been declared guilty by any court until publishing this article, it is becoming a fact that his career could possibly be over as an elite athlete, competing against the best in the world.
It would be great to see Shawn Rhoden compete again on the Olympia stage, but the current situation paints a different picture.