Tonight, Nik Wallenda will tightrope-walk across five blocks in Times Square. The high wire performer will not have any safety nets to protect him, but he will be wearing a safety harness in case of a fall. The performance has led many to speculate about Wallenda’s age, as well as his weight.
Nik was born on January 24, 1979, which makes him 40 years old. As a member of the famed Wallenda family, he did his first somersault at the age two, and made his first public performance with his family in 1981. By the time he was four, his father started teaching him how to walk on a high wire. According to MSN, his parents would throw objects at him as he practiced, and even shot him with a BB gun to train him to deal with distractions on the wire.
Nik Wallenda Is 40 Years Old & Has Been Performing Since He Was 3
Nik made his professional tightrope walking debut at age 13, and has been doing it ever since. He holds nine Guinness World Records, and has walked over the Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls. He even proposed to his wife, Erendira, during a performance in Canada. Despite his success as a daredevil performer, Nik said that he plans to retire by the time he turns 55.
“By 55, I’ll be done,” he told FOX News. “My mom was about to turn 70 and said, ‘I expect to do a walk with you.’ I think I’ll retire before I get to that age for safety concerns. In 10 years, I’ll be ready to pass the torch. My sons are great wire walkers but the eldest, Yanni, is in the Marines. He’s 21. Amadeos is 18, but he goes into the Army [soon].”
He Said That He Plans to Retire By the Time He Turns 55
In a separate interview with Billy Graham, Nik said that the death of his grandfather Karl has loomed large over his decision to retire in his 50s. “My great-grandfather was too old to be on the wire. He could walk on the wire, but when he encountered a problem, he was not strong enough to hold on,” he explained. “It’s like telling an artist to put down their paint brush. They’re still going to paint at 60, 70 or 80 years old.”
According to the Herald Tribune, Nik and weighs between 180 and 190 pounds. He says that his ideal performance weight is 185, but that sometimes he weighs more by the time he heads out onto the wire. His exact height is not known. “I believe God has given me a gift and a talent that can be used to bring glory to His name,” he said, when asked about his physical fitness. “I don’t go up there unprepared or untrained and say it’s up to God whether I make it or not. Not in any way.”