Mike Rashid shares his thoughts on Shawn Rhoden’s ban from Olympia 2019.
As the end of the year approaches we are looking back at the biggest events and news stories from 2019 in bodybuilding. Certainly one of the biggest was the accusations of sexual assault held against (now former) Mr. Olympia champion Shawn Rhoden. But since the judicial system moves slow, Shawn Rhoden has not yet been convicted or proven guilty. Regardless, the Mr. Olympia took swift action after the accusations and banned Rhoden from competing at the Olympia 2019. Denying him his right to defend his title. In our latest GI Exclusive interview clip, Mike Rashid reflects back on this moment and gives his opinion as to whether or not this was the right decision.
Shawn Rhoden’s ban was a controversial topic in the bodybuilding industry with fans, athletes, and experts all weighing in on whether or not it was the right move. Should Rhoden eventually be proven innocent, this ban will have already done its damage. After Shawn finally winning the Mr. Olympia for his first time in 2018, his momentum was destroyed and unable to prove to the world whether or not he could be a repeat champion. Perhaps because of this we will never see Shawn Rhoden as Olympia champion again. In another world where this didn’t happen – things could have been different.
Mike Rashid points this out but also understands that from a business perspective it’s a tough call. If they had let him compete and he turned out to be guilty – this wouldn’t look good for bodybuilding as a whole or the Olympia brand. At the same time, innocent until proven guilty is an important right in the United States – and to Rashid it feels unfair to react before the case is closed.
On top of that, Mike Rashid believes that banning Shawn Rhoden actually denied other athletes their ability to truly feel satisfied with their results at the Olympia. He believes that Brandon Curry can’t truly feel as proud of being a champion knowing that he didn’t go up agains the previous reigning champ. It denied Brandon Curry the ability to truly prove himself.
As always matters involving such heinous potential crimes are not easily answered. But you can check out our GI Exclusive interview with Mike Rashid above to hear him parse it out in his own words above.