What Helped Shawn Rhoden beat Phil Heath in the 2018 Mr. Olympia

What Helped Shawn Rhoden beat Phil Heath in the 2018 Mr. Olympia

Shawn Rhoden’s win over Phil Heath came as a surprise to many. Phil Heath was the reigning Mr. Olympia for seven consecutive years, a feast only Ronnie Coleman and Lee Haney had accomplished before him.

If Phil Heath won the 2018 Mr. Olympia, he would have tied with Coleman and Haney for the most number of Mr. Olympia title wins. It would be safe to call Shawn Rhoden a dark horse in the contest for the 2018 Mr. Olympia title.

Rhoden’s Set-Back

2018 has been a roller-coaster for Shawn Rhoden. Earlier this year Rhoden had to drop out of Arnold Classic citing health issues. Before the Arnold Classic, Shawn was sent to the hospital due to some extreme dehydration, two ulcers, and a serious case of the flu.

To make things worse, Shawn’s hemoglobin level was at 4 which should normally be around 14. Rhoden lost a lot of blood due to the two ulcers bleeding into his intestine. Six blood transfusions helped Rhoden’s body reach levels where it could produce blood on its own.

Never Lose Sight of Your Goal

Here is the Arnold Classic pullout announcement Shawn made on his Instagram. It is remarkable to see Shawn didn’t give up his goal of winning Mr. Olympia even while he was hospitalized. Shawn personifies true warrior spirit.

Being crowned Mr. Olympia means you’re the best bodybuilder in the world. We can only imagine how much the Olympia win would mean for Rhoden coming out of such a set-back.

Why Shawn Rhoden Beat Phil Heath

The main problem as explained by the IFBB Pro head judge Steve Weinberger was Phil’s stomach. While Phil did win some poses, he didn’t win all of them. Shawn, on the other hand, came with a better overall physique.

In the video above Phil talks about his Olympia loss, not recovering properly from his double hernia surgery and his next even bigger hernia surgery. While Phil says he knew he was behind in the race for the title, Steve Weinberger says otherwise.

The Comparison

mr olympia finals

Here is one of the clearest comparison pictures of the top two finishers of 2018 Mr. Olympia finals. There is a stark contrast between Shawn’s and Phil’s arms and stomachs and this is where Shawn overtook Phil in the race for the Mr. Olympia title.

The final showdown in this year’s Olympia had more poses than the usual. Phil’s blocky stomach became a bottleneck in all his poses from the front double biceps (picture above) to the back poses.

While Shawn did take Phil down in the final showdown, Phil undoubtedly had some strong points like his forearms and calves which easily overshadowed Shawn. Nonetheless, Shawn became the first Jamaican to win the Mr. Olympia title.

The Jamaican even with all his setbacks had total faith in his training, diet, and coach. In the end, Shawn’s grit, patience, hard work, and perseverance paid dividends. Throughout this year, Shawn showed a fighters spirit and is crowned the best bodybuilder in the world.

Before we wrap up, let’s hear it from the man himself, the 2018 Mr. Olympia, Shawn Rhoden.

As Rhoden says, he had already thought of himself to be the next Mr. Olympia. His visualization was so strong the world had no choice but to make what he believed a reality.


Who is your favorite Mr. Olympia of all time?

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Vidur Saini
Vidur is a fitness junky who likes staying up to date with the fitness industry and loves publishing his opinions for everyone to see. Subscribe to his YouTube Channel.