Shawn Rhoden General overview
Shawn Rhoden, popularly known by the alias “Flaxeraton” was born 40 years ago in Jamaica. This Jamaican turned American professional bodybuilder who was recently dubbed as, ‘Half Man Half Machine” is considered a classical example in the fitness niche of a star who has enjoyed a meteoric rise from humble beginnings.
Shawn Rhoden is the current reigning World IFBB Champion and still retains his Mr Olympia title from 2014. Rhoden is best known as the face of leading nutrition companies such as the Ronnie Coleman Signature Series, Schiek and Weider. The champion currently resides in Germantown, Maryland, US.
Physically, Rhoden stands 2 inches shy of 6 feet at 5″10′ and maintains a contest weight of 240lbs, which puts him squarely in the men’s heavyweight category.
Shawn Rhoden Childhood and Early Life Background
Growing up in the rough streets of Kingston, Jamaica, Shawn Rhoden always aspired to be a footballer. He always imagined that he would one day work his way to superstardom through soccer. Although his dream materialized in a very different form, he didn’t take part in active bodybuilding until the age of 17 in 1992.
When he was 15, Shawn Rhoden remembers working around getting an American Visa and citizenship before moving to the States in 1991. In America, Shawn had the rare opportunity of meeting Yohnnie Shambouger, the former Mr. Universe. This twist of fate later turned to be his breakthrough as Yohnnie doubled up as his mentor and personal tutor. It is also to be remembered that it was he who introduced Rhoden to lifting weights and taught him the basics of the art of muscle sculpture.
While starting out, Shawn had a weight of only 156lbs. In fact, he was so skinny while growing up that he was teased to end in school for his lean physique. Little did they know that the same defenseless Shawn Rhoden would later grow to be a world-class athlete.
Bodybuilding career and Championships
There’s no denying that Shawn Rhoden’s bodybuilding career is one that has been marred by numerous setbacks. At first, it almost ended even before he had made a name for himself in the industry. In 1993, when still an amateur, Shawn Rhoden ripped 9 tendons in his right hand after losing grip of a 105lb weight while training. His doctor’s prognosis was that he would never be able to write or play instruments, let alone lift weights. Against his doctor’s advice, Shawn Rhoden risked losing his hand’s functionality when he continued with the same rigorous training regimen that he had been warned against.
His tenacity paid off in 1996 when he participated and won the National Eastern Classic in New Jersey. The same year, however, he suffered a serious back injury while training and had to step out of the arena for six months.
In 1997, Shawn Rhoden had recovered enough to allow him to attend the Mid-Atlantic National Bodybuilding Championship where he surprised his critics by scooping the Poser’s Award and 2nd best overall title.
In 2002, Shawn Rhoden once again fell off the wagon after his father’s demise after a long battle with lung cancer. It is reported that Shawn took the refuge of alcohol as a way of escaping this reality, something that later led to his widely publicized alcohol dependency and addiction.
However, after much persuasion from friends ( notably Lenore Caroll), Shawn Rhoden joined the ranks again in 2009 after a year of specialized rehabilitation from his drug addiction. His renewed vigor proved to be a force to reckon with when he won the overall heavyweight title in the 2009 IFBB-North-American-Championships. A feat which later saw him being awarded the coveted IFBB pro card.
As a pro bodybuilder, Shawn had to contend with seasoned athletes. This was the realization that hit him in the 2010 IFBB Europa Show in Dallas when he was ranked last at position 16 in his pro debut. But the journey was far from over for Shawn who still insisted in competing again in the same show in Vegas, the following year. This time he was ranked 3rd and graduated to Olympia.
The Olympia league is one of the most competitive bodybuilding tiers in the world. And Shawn Rhoden proved his mettle when he was placed 11th after sharing the stage with some of the world’s finest.
Shawn’s biggest win was in 2014 when he emerged as the top and overall best athlete in the men’s heavyweight category. The same year saw him sign lucrative endorsements with 6 different nutritional and supplement brands. It was then obvious that he had cemented his dominance in the fitness industry.
Shawn Rhoden was once dating former wrestling champion Sarah Backman, but they later split. He is currently unmarried.
Want to read about Shawn Rhoden on our forums? check out these threads:
- Phil Heath Disses Shawn Rhoden
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Mike Shiles is a bodybuilder, gym owner, freelance writer, success coach and author of “Burn fat build muscle. He has written thousands of articles on exercise, nutrition and health.