Wallenda Niagara Falls
Wallenda Niagara Falls, ‘What is the purpose of your trip, sir?” the customs agent asked Nik Wallenda when he presented his passport at the Canadian border. “To inspire people around the world,” he replied.Moments before, Wallenda had become the first person ever to walk over Niagara Falls on a tightrope dripping with spray from the thunderous waterfall that separates the US from Canada. With 100,000 people on the ground watching the night-time stunt under glaring spotlights, and millions more listening in to Wallenda’s miked-up prayers on live television as he made his way across, the 33-year-old daredevil fulfilled a lifelong dream that was also a family destiny.
His is the seventh generation of the famous Flying Wallendas, who can lay claim to a history of death- and gravity-defying high-wire acts since they were a family of travelling acrobats in Austria-Hungary in the 18th century. Nik Wallenda’s great-grandfather, Karl Wallenda, fell to his death during a stunt in Puerto Rico in 1978.
“This is what dreams are made of – people,” Wallenda said, as he took his first steps over Horseshoe Falls, the widest of Niagara’s three waterfalls. Wearing elkskin-soled shoes designed by his mother to withstand the sopping conditions and a safety harness that would have saved his life if he had fallen – at the insistence of ABC, the US broadcaster that sponsored the $1.3m event – Wallenda edged across the 1,800ft of the gorge for 25 minutes, with the winds and mists whipping him as he went.
“I’m strained, I’m drained,” he said, at the halfway mark. “This is so physical, not only mental but physical … My hands are going numb. I feel like I’m getting weak.”
Wallenda broke into a run for the final yards on the Canadian side, where his wife and three children were waiting to greet him.
“There was no way to focus on the movement of the cable,” he said later. “If I looked down at the cable, there was water moving everywhere. And if I looked up, there was heavy mist blowing in front of my face. So it was a very unique, a weird sensation. (The Independent)