Rise of the Machine

Shawn Rhoden's journey (and off-season workout) to success!

The entire 2011 Olympia, I wish everyone who turned pro could experience that. Because it’s not like any other show you’ve ever been to. The day they send out your contract and schedule your hotel and flight, it’s such a great feeling. You feel wanted. Then you go to the press conference, you meet the fans, and it’s real. At that point, everyone knows what everyone else is bringing to the table. There’s nothing to hide, which for me was relaxing and overwhelming all at the same time. All the guys who have been on that stage—Flex Wheeler, Shawn Ray, Kevin Levrone, Ronnie Coleman— and now, there I was. Had I never competed again, I felt like my career was complete. Then to make the second callout with Jay Cutler, Phil Heath, and Dexter Jackson. Oh, man... I have that picture on my computer to this day. One of my great moments at Olympia was at the prejudging. I walked backstage and I was pumped, I wanted to call everyone in the world that I knew to tell them where I was. I walked over to the Gatorade table and Jay Cutler was there. He said, “Shawn, have mine.” I was just like a fan at that point, thinking, “Holy crap, Jay Cutler just gave me a Gatorade.” It was surreal for me.

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