On July 12th, The Deseret News reported that 2018 Mr. Olympia Shawn Rhoden has been charged with one count of rape, one count of object rape, and one count of forcible sexual abuse in the state of Utah. According to the report, there is currently a warrant for Mr. Rhoden’s arrest as well as formal charges filed.
Rhoden, 44, is being accused of forcing himself onto a female client in Utah and engaging in sexual activity without her consent. The woman was preparing for a competition and Rhoden was working with her as a coach. The incident is alleged to have taken place in a hotel room on October 12, 2018, which would be less than one month after Rhoden won the 2018 Mr. Olympia title.
As of this publication, Rhoden has yet to speak regarding the allegations, charges filed, and the arrest warrant.
American Media, the company that owns the rights to the Olympia, has announced in a press release that Rhoden will not be allowed to compete for the title of 2019 Mr. Olympia and will be banned from future competitions while the case develops. An excerpt of their statement is below:
“American Media, LLC Chairman and CEO David J. Pecker, owner and operator of Joe Weider’s Mr. Olympia Fitness and Performance Expo and the Mr. Olympia Contest, today announced that he is revoking the eligibility of 2018 Mr. Olympia Shawn Rhoden from competing in the 2019 and future Mr. Olympia competitions. The announcement follows the recent charges that led to a warrant issued in Utah for Mr. Rhoden stemming from an alleged incident in October 2018.
In addition to revoking Mr. Rhoden’s eligibility from future Mr. Olympia competitions, American Media also announced that it would suspend coverage of Mr. Rhoden in its media brands, including Muscle & Fitness and FLEX, until the legal process has been completed.”
In the 55 year history of the Mr. Olympia contest, a current champion has never been banned from competing in future contests. This is unchartered waters for the sport. We will follow this story and share more pertinent information when it develops.