In a striking display of dedication to his sport, Rodney Gaines, collegiate associate professor in the Department of Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Virginia Tech, won the Amateur Athletic Union Senior Male Athlete of the Year and the Overall Male Athlete of the Year for Strength Sports awards at the 2023 Amateur Athletic Union Mr. Universe and Mr. World Championships.

Gaines, a triple Hokie, also competed in multiple divisions at the championships, including Sports Model, Fashion Model, Bodybuilding Open, Masters Divisions, and Classical Bodybuilding Open and Master Divisions at the event held in Las Vegas in late September. 

Beyond the bodybuilding stage, Gaines displayed his versatility in the modeling arena. He won both the Amateur Athletic Union Sports Model and Amateur Athletic Union Fashion Model categories within the Mr. Universe and World Championship events.

One of the most notable highlights of the competition was Gaines's victory in the Platinum Elite category, where he competed at the professional level of bodybuilding within the Amateur Athletic Union Mr. Universe and World Championships. 

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