This year has been a memorable one for Okta cofounder and CEO Todd McKinnon.
Not only did McKinnon take his company public this spring, but earlier this month, he was crowned the 14th fittest man on earth in the 45-to-49 age group. McKinnon earned the distinction by competing against elite athletes from around the world in the annual CrossFit Games, a four-day invitational event held on August 3 through 6 in Madison, Wisconsin.
The CrossFit games are known to be gruelling. Over the course of the four days of competition, athletes run, bike, swim, lift weights, do calisthenics, climb ladders, lift more weights, and compete in other shows of strength like handstand push-ups.
Just to qualify for the contest, athletes have to do well in two prior stages. They have got to achieve a top score in an open competition, where anyone can participate, and then they have to be a top athlete in a regional competition.
So, the winners of the CrossFit games truly earn their crowns as the “fittest on earth.”
But the competition is about more than just backbreaking exercise for the participants. It’s a popular spectator sport; thousands of CrossFit fans descend on the stadium to cheer for their favourites.
And the competition can be lucrative for winners. Champion pro CrossFit athletes take home prize purses of nearly $US300,000.
With his 14th place finish in the masters division, McKinnon didn’t qualify for any prize money. But he did accomplish another first. He was the first athlete ever to compete in the games in the same year he took his startup public, according to McKinnon’s coach Jon Hanna.
Okta, the company McKinnon’ started with his cofounder Freddy Kerres in 2009 after both of them left Salesforce, debuted as a public company in April. Investors ate it up, driving the stock up 40% on its first day of trading, giving the company a more than $US2 billion valuation, which has been relatively stable ever since.
With that IPO success, McKinnon didn’t exactly need the prize money. As the largest individual shareholder of Okta, his 9% stake is currently worth over $US215 million.