by Christian Duque
Rumors are buzzing through the web, and news sites and popular influencers are also swirling. In 2018 Mr. Olympia Shawn "Flexatron" Rhoden seems to have parted company with his sponsor Olimp. The split could not come at a more unusual time. Shawn was recently featured on the advertising materials for Arnold Classic for 2020 and is back on everyone's lips. The news of the breakup has fans looking for answers.
Rhoden, who won seven times against Mr. Olympia Phil "The Gift" Heath in 2018, should successfully defend his title in 2019, and many thought he would perform reasonably well as a top athlete in the sport. The reason is that his victory over Heath was so good that many in the sport speculated that he could send Heath into semi-retirement. In retrospect, that's exactly what it could have done. The 7x Champion had no plans to return in 2019 and may not return in 2020. While he looks much better and has brought out a supplement line, his M.O. seems to be a page from Kai Greenes Playbook. Who else would really overthrow Rhoden without Heath or Greene? Sure, he would have tough competition, but his place at the top was far from secure. When his legal problems broke, AMI banished him from the Olympics and Rhoden lost the sponsors, but Olimp stayed tuned. Various reports indicate that the company will use Rhoden's name and image on advertising materials by January 2020. This could have some different meanings.
For starters, anyone will assume that Olimp dropped Rhoden. This is a very powerful option given the continuing fall of the champion and the setback of industry and mainstream media. It is quite possible that the European powerhouse wanted to distance itself from any additional negative publicity, especially if and when the case should be brought to justice. Other sources have confirmed that this is exactly the case. Well, mind you, just because the case goes to court does not mean that Rhoden is guilty. Rhoden is only guilty if he is found guilty. This may seem so basic that it need not be said, but unfortunately there is a part of the population that does not understand the difference between the charges and the conviction.
Anyone who thinks Rhoden has been dropped speculates too quickly about the coming Arnold. Many of those I've interacted with seem to believe that Shawn is not going to do the Arnold, and that this detail could have hit Olimp's decision not to continue Rhoden. In the land of conspiracy theories, others also believe that Rhoden's ban on the Olympics will apply to 2020. Without assuming anything else, there is no reason to believe that Shawn would compete in the Olympics until his case is resolved. So if you think it was Olimp who made the case, then I could see where you can prove the fact that Shawn's competing days are behind him, at least until the case is resolved.
There is also a different view. Shawn may have run from Olimp and here's why. Just as companies want to drop Shawn and / or distance themselves from him due to the setback, they may also see opportunities in Shawn's misfortune. If Shawn gives Arnold 110%, works closely with Chris Aceto, Charles Glass, and shows his heart on this stage, nobody will beat him. I do not care how sharp his competitors come. It's not even about size, shape, dryness and crispness. It must be understood that Rhoden has been denied the opportunity to defend the title he has worked for his entire life. He had to watch the story unfold before his eyes. This is a man who wants to return to the stage who, if he is innocent, must lose his mind, his heart and the chance to tell the bodybuilding sport that he is still very much here. When he competes, the passion with which he comes alone is unstoppable.
If Shawn participated in Arnold, he would not only win. It would be so great and indisputable that it would be electric.
Now suppose Olimp tried to knock Shawn down. He has lost important sponsors, can not attend the biggest show and may not be able to attend the second biggest show. Nobody really knows what will happen until it happens. Well, mind you, it's all speculative, and in that context, we can really see all the possibilities more clearly. There's definitely plenty of room for a clever negotiator to get a guy like Shawn for a fraction of what he's worth, especially if Rhoden was desperate for money. A clever, even heartless negotiator could point out the high costs of his legal defense, really get the guy between a rock and a hard place and get him to accept a contract extension for peanuts. Personally, I do not think Rhoden is desperate, and I do not think he's going to have a lot of trouble finding a new sponsor. Besides, I think it's so likely he left Olimp when Olimp dropped him.
Others have pointed to Rhoden's pro-card status and whether he is eligible to participate in 2020 at all or not. I think that's a pretty controversial point as our president made a brilliant statement when the news of Rhoden's case became known and there have been no updated official statements since then. Although Rhoden had no active card for 2019, he did not participate in competitions this year. I do not think that this is a problem. As long as he has a good reputation by 2020, that's all it takes to compete in Arnold next year. I do not think Olimp would know more than Shawn, whether he will take part in Arnold or not. Therefore, I do not think that Olimp's decision to separate from Rhoden (or vice versa) has anything to do with Arnold, even though it is unlikely that fans will let go of this argument. The only fleeting opportunity to have problems with the Arnold would be if Rhoden decides not to contest alone. This is the only way Arnold could have played a role.
If I speak from a pragmatic point of view, I think Shawn should focus on his case and not be distracted by competitions. If we talk from a bodybuilding point of view and from what makes Shawn happy, then the competition is long overdue. He misses the stage and wants to be there. It is also noteworthy that the Arnold is an invitation. You could win every Olympics and Pro Show known to man, it does not matter. Nobody qualifies for Arnold, so the question is, do you want Rhoden there?
If it looks like this article is omnipresent then welcome to my world. The whole sport is literally starving for news about Rhoden, his case, and now, no doubt, whatever has happened between him and Olimp. Worse still, if the reports that Rhoden is used by January 2020 will be correct, probably none of the parties will talk about the split by February. I am sure that there is still money left on the table and the obligations that have to be fulfilled by then.
What does all this mean? I look forward to your comments and hope you enjoyed reading my article.
I hope you enjoyed reading this article here in Iron Magazine. I am looking forward to read your comments. Please do not forget to use the discount code IML15 to save 15% at IronMagLabs.com – iincluding the new CBD Gummies !!!