With four wins, a third-place Mr. Olympia finish, and the FLEX Most Improved Bodybuilder of the Year award, Shawn “Flexatron” Rhoden was the big story of the 2012 IFBB season. We caught up with Rhoden at “the Mecca,” Gold’s Gym in Venice, CA, where he’s preparing for the 2013 Mr. Olympia with master trainer Charles Glass. The normally reserved Rhoden, who prefers to let his physique do the talking onstage, was feeling a bit bothered concerning some post-Olympia comments made by reigning and two-time champ Phil Heath. Here’s what Flexatron had to say about that and other topics.
“When I think of Mr. Olympia, I think of Lee Haney, Dorian Yates, Ronnie Coleman, and Jay Cutler. Those guys were ambassadors for the sport, which is what a Mr. Olympia should be. Phil is working his way toward that, but right now, I just don’t see it.”
NOT A THREAT?
“A couple of days before last Thanksgiving, someone sent me a tweet where Phil basically said I was not a threat and couldn’t get past the other guys to beat him. I laughed it of . But then later, I remembered that at the Olympia seminar [Sunday morning after the contest], when a fan asked him who he thought his biggest threats were, he said a lot of people’s names except mine. The fan then asked, ‘What about Flexatron?’ and Phil replied, ‘Yes, he’s on my radar.’ Then I saw this [tweet]. Wow! I take that shit personal! No one is invincible, and sooner or later, somebody’s gonna creep up on you. His name is tattooed on my eyeballs.”
“If I’m not given the respect I feel I deserve, then guess what? I’m taking it! And the only way to get respect is to challenge everyone who stands against me onstage. At the end of the day, nobody remembers how much prize money you won. I don’t need materialistic things. Everything I need, I already have. But everything I want, I still have to work for and that’s what drives me every day in the gym.”
“There’s so much history in this gym. Just being here motivates you to want to do better. And Charles has been involved with so many great champions. I’m a big fan of the sport, so to train with the guy who brought Flex Wheeler and Chris Cormier to the level they were at is awesome. It’s an honor being compared to Flex, and getting encouragement from former Mr. O Dexter Jackson is amazing. You can’t put a price tag on that. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been training, you’re never gonna know it all. The key is to keep an open mind, be coachable, and learn new things in the gym. It’s the only way to keep improving.”