Tue Jul 16, 2019 London
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MOVERS & SHAKERS

The snakes and ladders of society A chronicle of drama, scandal and success in London, Paris, New York and elsewhere

Life on the wire

Nik Wallenda crosses the Niagara Falls

 

Yesterday, watched by over a billion people worldwide, Nik Wallenda became the first person to successfully walk across Niagara Falls on a tightrope.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oodNwQwW42c

Watch Nick Walenda finish his Niagara Falls crossing

 

This 7th generation tightrope walker was tethered to prevent nearly certain death if he had fallen and contended with wind, water, darkness and mist as he travelled 1,800 feet across the roaring falls. As he did, around 125,000 watched the daredevil stunt on the Canadian side whilst 4,000 gathered on the American side.

 

Nik Wallenda crossing Niagara Falls

A Guinness Book of Records world record holder, Wallenda hails from an Austrian-Hungarian family known as the Flying Wallendas. He began performing aged 2, dressed as a clown, first walked the wire at age 4 and gave his first professional wire performance aged just 13.

 

Nik Wallenda

Here is an acrobat with nerves of steel who also proposed to his future wife, Erendira, on bended knee on a wire 30ft high during a performance in front of 18,000 people in Montreal in 1999 and one who appeared with eight other family members in a pyramid on the high wire at Japan’s Kurashiki Tivoli Park in 2001.

 

In another dramatic move in June 2011, Wallenda completed a 121ft high-wire crossing between the two towers of the 10 storey Condado Plaza Hotel in San Juan, Puerto Rico. This recreated the one that killed a man he describes as his inspiration, his great-grandfather, Karl Wallenda, in 1978.

 

Yesterday, Wallenda crossed Niagara Falls on a steel wire weighing 7 tons that had a diameter of 2 inches. It was installed by helicopter and pulled across the gorge by machines and to cross it, Wallenda carried a 30ft balance pole weighing some 40 pounds. His achievement was spectacular to watch and in this age of austerity, it is fantastic to have witnessed something so positive.

 

For more information about Nik Wallenda, go to: http://nikwallenda.com

 

Follow Nik Wallenda on Twitter at: http://www.twitter.com/NikWallenda

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