The Push

Almost from birth, Grant Korgan was a multi-sport athlete. He grew up in the area of Lake Tahoe, California. From his youngest days his parents described Grant as active, determined and adventurous. Almost any sport which involved him being outdoors he undertook – snowmobiling, skiing, bmx biking, etc.

In 1990 he left California to go to college in Colorado, another state rich in outdoor activity. Tragedy struck while he was there when his good friend and outdoor adventure partner Casey died in an avalanche while skiing. Inspired by Casey, Grant changed his major from business to engineering. After graduation he and a couple of partners stared a nano tech company.

While at school he met the love of his life, Shawna. They were married in 2009. While he worked hard he continued to play hard. Was able to still compete as a professional athlete. His life changed on one of his adventures.

In Sierra, Nevada, Grant and a couple of friends were filming a snowmobiling segment in the back country. While trying a jump he had dreamed of for a long time he suffered a grave injury. His accident is on video. As soon as he landed he could not feel anything below his bellybutton. It took a while to get him off the mountain by helicopter, but once in the hospital Grant was informed he had crushed his L1 vertebrae and would be in a wheelchair for the rest of his life.

Grant would have to learn to live his life with the injury. It was a challenged he never could have imagined. A year after the accident he undertook another challenge. He began training for an expedition to the South Pole – Antarctica. If successful, Grant would be the first spinal cord injured athlete to attempt to ski the South Pole.

While the physcial demands would be great there were other dangers to think of as well. Over the course of the 100 miles they would have to travel the elements would challenge even an able bodied man, but he would have the additional worries of falling, hypothermia from the -40 degree weather, frostbite as he cannot feel his feet, exhaustion, and mental challenges.

Grant saw this challenge as a sign that he had recovered fully from injury. In his mind, if he could do this what couldn’t he do? Also believed his attempt to do this would show himself and others what is possible.

For an able-bodied person this would be quite a feat to undertake. Amazing when you see how hard Grant has to work to move his sled just a few inches. And he did that for days on end and a hundred miles. Amazing!

As you might expect the visuals are great. Cinematography by Tom Day (Dynasty) is stunning at times. He really captures the sparse and harsh landscape of the South Pole at its finest.

This is a documentary which is meant to be inspirational. It even ends with Grant taking the stage in a talk about his experiences and what humans are capable of if they put their minds to it. It, and he, implores us to live up to our potential. A window into Grant’s new endeavour as a motivational speaker is what we are left with. Wishing to show us that physical challenges are as much about our minds and the power there as what is demanded fo our bodies.

The film is available on Netflix and Amazon Prime.

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