Shawn Rhoden: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Shawn Rhoden

Robert Cianflone/Getty Images) Mr. Universe 2018 Shawn Rhoden.

Famed bodybuilder and Mr. Olympia 2018, Shawn “Flexatron” Rhoden, 44, is facing first-degree rape charges after authorities said he sexually assaulted a female bodybuilder. KSL is reporting that on July 10, Rhoden was charged in Salt Lake City’s 3rd District Court with rape and object rape, both first degree felonies, and forcible sexual abuse, a second-degree felony.

The woman told investigators she met with Rhoden on October 12, 2018, in his hotel room in Sandy, Utah, near Salt Lake City. The woman described Rhoden as a mentor. She said that while in the room, Rhoden forced himself on her even though she tried to push him off and told him to stop.

She was only able to get away after telling Rhoden that she needed to go downstairs because an acquaintance who was waiting for her would know “something was up.”

According to TMZ, the woman went to the police to file a report and underwent a sexual assault examination. A DNA sample taken from the woman’s body matched a sample provided by Rhoden.

There’s a warrant for his arrest and bail has been set at $750,000 however, it’s unclear if the Santa Barbara, California resident will be turning himself over to authorities or if police will be formally arresting him.

At 5’10 and 260 pounds, Rhoden is considered a bodybuilding superstar, with over 1.6 million Instagram followers.

Here’s what you need to know about Shawn Rhoden.

1. Rhoden is Prohibited From Competing in Future Mr. Olympia Competitions

David Pecker, chairman of the publishing powerhouse American Media, LLC (AMI) which owns the Mr. Olympia competition, announced on July 12 he was revoking Rhoden’s 2019 competition eligibility as well as eligibility to participate in all future Mr. Olympia competitions.

Donald Trump National Enquirer, National Enquirer CEO, Donald Trump David Pecker

GettyDavid Pecker (left) with Kelly Bensimon in 2010.


Pecker said he was suspending all promotion of Rhoden in magazines under AMI’s umbrella including Muscle & Fitness, “until the legal process has been completed,” an AMI press release states.

Rhoden’s trainer, Chris Aceto, criticized Pecker’s decision in a July 13 Instagram post.

“It appears…that (Pecker) has jumped the gun and decided a Mr. Olympia – accused of a crime- must be guilty of a crime without due process, without a trial, without picking up a phone and asking the competitor “what the hell is going on?” Aceto wrote.

The International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness (IFBB) also released a statement saying the organization has “not taken any actions for or against Shawn Rhoden.” IFBB President Jim Manion wrote that the federation and its attorneys were monitoring the case and wanted to respect the rights of “the accuser, the accused and the company which owns and operates the prestigious Mr. Olympia competition.”


2. Rhoden Has Won 27 Professional Titles

Known as “Flexatron,” and “The Maryland Muscle,” Rhoden has won 27 professional and five amateur titles.

While he is best known for his 2018 upset of longtime Mr. Olympia winner Phil Heath, Rhoden has competed in several other national and international events including the IFBB Arnold Classic, IFBB British Grand Prix, IFBB the Dubai Pro, IFBB Dallas Europa Show, and EVLS Prague Pro.

When asked by RXMuscle about his Mr. Olympia win at the age of 43, Rhoden responded that “age is just a bunch of numbers put together for lazy people,” but admitted the win at middle age was a challenge. Listen, this wasn’t easy by a long shot. I got my ass kicked every day in the gym.”

Rhoden credited coach Chris Aceto with his consistent wins. “Chris has never steered me wrong,” he said.


3. Rhoden Was Originally Mentored by Trainer Yohnnie Shambourger

Born in Kingston, Jamaica, Rhoden moved to Maryland with his family in 1990 where he was introduced to the sport of bodybuilding by his cousin at the age of 17.

Rhoden started thinking about competing after meeting famed trainer and former Mr. Universe, Yohnnie Shambourger. Rhoden credits Shambourger with his initial success.

“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 260-lbs (in the offseason) of solid muscle,” Rhoden’s website said.

Shambourger, who has won several bodybuilding titles, claims to have a unique system for reshaping a person’s body. He has a Bachelor of Science and a Master degree in Physical Education from Howard University where he also served as the university’s head swimming coach from 1976-1987.

In addition to conducting various training programs and boot camps through his company, Yohnnex Sports Incorporated, Shambourger writes health, fitness and nutrition articles for bodybuilding publications including FLEX Magazine, Ironman Magazine, and Muscular Development Magazine.


4. Rhoden Was Once an Alcoholic

With Shambourger as his mentor, Rhoden set his sights on becoming a competitive bodybuilder. But the up-and-coming bodybuilder’s life took a turn in the mid-1990s when he injured his back and then tore nine tendons in his right hand. Both injuries occurred while training. When his father Lloyd died of lung cancer in 2002 Rhoden turned to alcohol.

“There was a point in my life when I was at my all-time low, I was an alcoholic, I was depressed and I was suicidal after the death of my father. LIFE HAPPENS.

“I’ve been to hell and back. I drank every day, Papa John’s pizza was on speed dial and Little Debbie, Twinkies, cupcakes, Ho Ho and Honeybuns were stacked in my nightstand,” he said.

An alcoholic for seven years, Rhoden sobered up after going to the bathroom one day and urinating blood. “He stopped alcohol cold turkey and turned his focus back into bodybuilding,” his website says.

By 2009 Rhoden had joined the IFBB and earned his pro-card, allowing him to compete professionally.


5. Rhoden’s Partner Is Beauty Entrepreneur Michelle Sugar

Rhoden has been in a long-term relationship with Michelle Sugar, a businesswoman who owns a popular all-natural hair removal salon in Santa Barbara, California called Sugar. The couple has a daughter named Cora Capri.

Rhoden credited his family with helping him win the 2018 Mr. Olympia title.

“For a moment, time stood still. To stand there and see the smile in my princesses eyes makes my heart rejoice with joy. We will forever share this moment. I thank you, Jesus, every day for @michelle_sugarsb and her. They are my reason and my purpose,” he wrote after the big win.

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