DAREDEVIL Nik Wallenda today became the first person ever to walk across the Niagara Falls on a tightrope.
An exuberant Wallenda said afterwards that he had achieved his childhood dream and declared: “I feel like I’m on cloud nine right now.”
More than 100,000 people crowded the shores in both countries and millions of people watched the spectacular event on television.
Wallenda, 33, described wind “coming from every which way”, mist so powerful he had to blink it away to maintain his vision and a breathtaking view during the nighttime walk illuminated by spotlights that “compared to nothing”.
He continued: “There was no way to focus on the movement of the cable.
“If I looked down at the cable there was water moving everywhere. And if I looked up there was heavy mist blowing in front of my face. So it was a very unique, a weird sensation.”
He said he accomplished the feat through “a lot of praying, that’s for sure. But, you know, it’s all about the concentration, the focus, and the training”.
The seventh-generation member of the famed Flying Wallendas had long dreamed of pulling off the stunt, never before attempted. Other daredevils have wire-walked over the Niagara River but farther downstream and not since 1896.
Wallenda, who wore a microphone for the broadcast, shortly after he stepped off from a platform on the American shore said: “This is what dreams are made of, people.”
Along the way, he calmly prayed aloud. After passing the halfway mark, Wallenda expressed fatigue. “I’m strained, I’m drained,” he said. “This is so physical, not only mental but physical.”
Toward the end, as he neared the Canadian shore, Wallenda dropped to one knee and pumped his fist while the spectators cheered.
“He broke into a playful run about 15 feet from the finish line, where his wife and three children waited. I am so blessed,” he said later. “How blessed I am to have the life that I have.”
ABC televised the walk and insisted Wallenda use a tether to keep him from falling in the river. –TS