Shawn Rhoden became the 14th competitor to be named Mr. Olympia on Saturday as he beat Phil Heath to the Sandow Trophy and prevented The Gift from clinching a record-equalling eighth consecutive crown in Las Vegas.
"Flexatron" has competed in every Olympia since 2011 and finally won the top honour on his eighth attempt. Generation Iron confirmed a new champion as Rhoden blew past the previous-best runner-up finish he recorded in 2016:
According to Tom Miller of FitnessVolt.com, Rhoden walked away with a $400,000 top prize, identical to last year's winner's purse, while Heath took home $150,000 and third-place finisher Roelly Winklaar pocketed $100,000:
2018 Mr. Olympia Prize Payouts
1. Shawn Rhoden: $400,000
2. Phil Heath: $150,000
3. Roelly Winklaar: $100,000
4. William Bonac: $55,000
5. Brandon Curry: $45,000
Saturday's victory feels like just reward for Rhoden, who at 43 years and five months has broken the record for oldest Mr. Olympia ever to be crowned, edging Chris Dickerson, who was also 43 when he won the gong in 1982.
One of the most consistent figures on the circuit has long been a quiet and devoted force at this level, and the softly spoken giant spoke to RxMuscle's former pro Dave Palumbo to discuss his triumph:
Heath looked the more bloated in comparison alongside Rhoden when the pair went up for their decisive pose-off, and it was there that IFBB pro Sheila Bleck believed the winner stood out in a class of his own:
Bodybuilding's move away from the bubble gut look in recent years has worked in favour of Rhoden, whose leanness alongside some bulkier contestants was clearly what more judges were looking for.
It's been a long road for the veteran, who came in 11th in his first outing at the Olympia seven years ago but can now say he is the best in the world at his craft.
In contrast, it was a bitter pill to swallow for Heath, who now knows he'll never tie level with legends Ronnie Coleman and Lee Haney as the only athletes to have ever won eight Mr. Olympia crowns in succession.
Still, he rubs shoulders with Arnold Schwarzenegger as a winner of seven titles in a row and was rather humble in defeat when sending his congratulations to Rhoden.
There were suggestions William Bonac perhaps deserved to finish on the podium, and there was big praise for fifth-place Brandon Curry, who managed his new best in Vegas after finishing eighth at the Olympia in 2011 and 2017.
But Winklaar justified his place in third when he was named the inaugural Mr. Olympia People's Champion and was handed a ceremonial belt, as detailed by Nick's Strength and Fitness:
This was undoubtedly the best the Curacao competitor has ever looked on stage, and it's clear with Winklaar in particular the efforts he's made to reduce the size of his abdomen, bringing a much tighter package this weekend.
Given his age, it's highly doubtful Rhoden will embark upon his own attempts to break the Olympia streak for consecutive wins, but it was a sweet moment for the industry on Saturday to see such a loyal competitor rewarded.