Nik Wallenda, Florida Daredevil, Crosses Grand Canyon on High Wire
Nick Wallenda, the self-desribed "King of the High Wire," from Sarasota, Florida, completed a historic 1,400-foot high-wire walk across the Grand Canyon on Sunday.
The event was broadcast live (with a ten-second delay in case things turned, uh, bad) on the Discovery Channel and was also shown around the world.
With dust blowing in his eyes and winds making things a little dicey, Wallenda successfully crossed the gorge in 22 minutes, making him the first person to do so without a tether or safety net.
A mic attached to Wallenda captured his prayers to Jesus as the steadily made his way across the Colorado River Gorge in Arizona.
Wallenda, 34, crossed Niagara Falls last June, earning himself a place in the Guinness World Record. Although he used a safety harness for that crossing.
This time, there would be no such harness. Just his balancing pole, his own sense of balance and his prayers to Jesus.
He comes from a family of high wire artists.
The Flying Wallendas have performed several dangerous feats throughout the years. Karl Wallenda, Nik's great-grandfather, perished at the age of 73 during a high wire walk in Puerto Rico in 1978.
Nik said in an interview following the Grand Canyon walk, that he thought of his great-grandfather.
"I knelt down and I thought of my great-grandfather and that everything I do is to honor him," he said. "It took my mind off all this movement underneath me ... and I was able to focus on him and regain composure."
Wallenda said the strong winds that gusted at him during Sunday's walk had been worse than he anticipated.
He trained for the event in his Sarasota home while Tropical Storm Andrea hit the state two weeks ago.
Wallenda says he'd like to next attempt a crossing between the Chrysler Building and Empire State Building, in New York.
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