Nik Wallenda Successfully Walks Steel Cable Over the Chicago River

High-wire performer Nik Wallenda walks between Chicago skyscrapers on Nov. 2.(Photo: Tannen Maury, epa)
High-wire performer Nik Wallenda walks between Chicago skyscrapers on Nov. 2.(Photo: Tannen Maury, epa)

Nik Wallenda looked like he didn’t even break a sweat in his latest effort to cheat death and create must-see TV.

With thousands of roaring spectators on hand to watch, Wallenda on Sunday conquered the Windy City skyline.

The 35-year-old daredevil — a 7th generation progeny of the famed Flying Wallendas circus family — first walked uphill on the steel cable over the Chicago River connecting the Windy City’s west Marina City tower to the top of the Leo Burnett building. The walk, which took him up a 19-degree angle, started at 588-feet and culminated at 671 feet. (Initially, the climb was only supposed to be 15 degrees, but a last minute adjustment required by the city made the climb steeper, according to Wallenda.)

That death-defying feat was just a teaser.

The daredevil then put on a blindfold and walked — at a height of 543 feet — a wire between the two Marina City towers, the corn cob-looking high rises built by the famed Chicago architect Bertrand Goldberg.

Ahead of the walk, Wallenda — who has tightroped over the Little Colorado River Gorge and Niagara Falls — said his blindfolded walk is the most dangerous stunt he’s ever attempted.

“It’s hard for people to comprehend,” Wallenda said of his decision to walk a steel cable about the width of a nickel set 50 stories high. “But it truly is my passion. My family has done this for seven generations and 200 years. My great-grandfather said it best, ‘Life is on the wire and the rest is just waiting.'”

For the Discovery Channel, which is broadcasting the walk they dubbed “Skyscraper Live with Nik Wallenda,” the stunts promise big ratings.

More than 13 million viewers tuned in for Wallenda’s walk over the Little Colorado River Gorge outside Grand Canyon National Park last year, which like Sunday’s stunts in Chicago, were done without a harness or safety net. That walk was 1400 feet long, but he wasn’t blindfolded.

Ahead of the high-wire act, Wallenda said he was clear-eyed about the danger and the potential for tragedy.

Click here to read more.

SOURCE: USA Today
Aamer Madhani

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