SOUTH POLE — On Tuesday, Grant Korgan, 33, of Incline Village, succeeded as the first adaptive athlete in history to reach the Antarctic south pole.
The arrival of Korgan and his South Pole Push team coincides with the exact date of the 100-year anniversary of Captain Robert Falcon Scott's Terra Nova Expedition in 1912. Korgan traversed 75 miles using a custom sit-ski, pushing approximately 250,000 times across velcro-like snow and with -45 degree windchill. The expedition took almost two weeks to complete.
“Grant just pulled off one of the most amazing athletic achievements in modern history and a first for adaptive athletes. This is a historic day in the name of recovery, technology, adventure and the human potential,” said Steven Siig, director of the documentary film about the project called “The Push.”
The expedition was lead by Doug Stoup and Tal Fletcher; they were accompanied by a three-person production crew. The team trained for a year with various missions in Alaska, Norway, Tahoe and South America. The overall purpose of the project is to make strides for spinal cord recovery and to support California-based 501c3 nonprofit High Fives Foundation, which helps adaptive winter athletes ideally get back on their feet and to their sport.
“My bones [were] clacking against each other. And you really can view this thing in any way you want,” said Korgan, a Lake Tahoe native. “When I realized that I could see the beauty in any and all things, it brought another level of freedom.”
It has always been Korgan's goal to evolve from his sit ski to stand and ski the last bit of mileage to the South Pole. It was so cold and intense that until today, it didn't look likely. Siig is confident that Grant made it happen. Korgan said it will be remembered as the greatest moment, second to his wedding with Shawna Korgan, who surprised him a quarter mile before the finish.
“The Push” has streamed live satellite calls daily from Antarctica in collaboration with SocialTyze, which can be viewed on Facebook Page “The Push: A South Pole Adventure.” It will also be featured as a full-length film in late 2012 and as a four-part television series on NBC.
“The Push” is also in support of The Reeve – Irvine Research Center, a science research facility at University of California, Irvine devoted to the study of repair, regeneration and recovery of function after spinal cord injury. Learn more at www.reeve.uci.edu. To learn about sponsorship opportunities and follow “The Push” journey visit www.southpolepush.com.