If you’re feeling miffed it’s Monday, just be thankful you’re not standing atop a 700ft-high Chicago skyscraper readying yourself to walk a tightrope with no harness and no safety net. Admittedly daredevil aerial stunts are what Nik Wallenda does for a living – but watching the video of his latest feat, I’m more than happy to be sipping my morning cuppa from the comfort of my office desk.
Wallenda, 35, has already made his name walking a tightrope unaided across the Grand Canyon and Niagara Falls, but Sunday night’s breathtaking stroll, first up a steep incline across the Chicago River and then – blindfolded –between Chicago’s two 65-story Marina City towers, attracted 60,000 spectators to the streets of the US city.
A global television audience also watched on as the Discovery Channel broadcast the event with a 10-second time delay.
The first walk took just over six minutes with the second lasting just two minutes.
“I was born to perform before an audience,” said Wallenda who is a seventh-generation tightrope walker after his great-grandfather Karl Wallenda (born 1905) founded stunt performing group The Flying Wallendas. “When I first heard that roar and heard 65,000 screaming for you, it was just unbelievable.”
Last year Wallenda had a bid to tightrope walk in New York City rejected by the city’s police commissioner Ray Kelly. “I live by three words,” he said last night. “Never give up. I’ll be walking in New York City.”