Daredevil Nik Wallenda (of the famed Flying Wallenda family) became the first person ever to successfully walk across a tight rope suspended above the mighty Niagara Falls yesterday.
Taking careful, steady steps, Wallenda made his way across the 1800 feet of the Falls, battling wind as well as a continuous mist from the waterfall. The entire stunt was broadcast on ABC, who insisted Wallenda use a safety tether for the extremely risky daredevil act as insurance for the spectacle, which cost the network $1.3 million to put on.
Of course, being a daredevil is in the blood of the 33-year-old father of three, who is a 7th generation member of the circus act Flying Wallenda's. The family can trace their flashy, show biz roots back to 1780 Austria-Hungary, where family members entertained royalty and peasants alike with acrobatic feats, juggling, animal training and trapeze performances.
After successfully completing the walk, Wallenda said he was able to accomplish the feat with "a lot of praying, that's for sure. But, you know, it's all about the concentration, the focus, and the training."
A large, lively crowd had gathered to watch the event, with over 125,000 people gathering on the Canadian side of the falls and an additional 5000 on the American side. Around a dozen people have crossed high wires downstream at the Niagara Gorge, but this is the first time anyone has crossed directly over the Falls.