Nik Wallenda will be walking on a steel cable over a volcano in Nicaragua tonight, March 4, 2020, and it will be broadcast live during a two-hour special on ABC beginning at 8 p.m. EST. The Guinness World Record-receiving high-wire walker previously walked between Chicago Skyscrapers.
In November 2014, Wallenda completed what he then called his most challenging walk to date. He completed a walk between two Chicago skyscrapers 600 feet above downtown Chicago, partly blindfolded.
Wallenda was the first person to walk across the gorge near Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona in 2013 when he walked across a wire 1,500 feet above it. In 2012, he made a record journey across Niagara falls.
Watch The “Skyscraper Live” Video
The walk had two parts to it. The first was about 588 feet high and started at Marina City’s West Tower. The daredevil crossed the Chicago River to the Leo Burnett Building in about 7 minutes. The walk increased his elevation, as he finished about 671 feet above the street.
Wallenda then returned to the West Tower, choosing to then cross to the East Tower for the blindfolded portion of his walk. That part took him one minute and 20 seconds.
“I’m so blessed for these opportunities,” Wallenda said during his walk. “You guys watching think I’m crazy, but this is what I was made for.”
More than 60,000 people watched the walk live from the streets of Chicago. They cheered when he first stepped onto the wire. The noise helped build Wallenda’s confidence, he said when speaking with press after the walk.
“I was born to perform before an audience,” he said. “When I first heard that roar and heard 65,000 screaming for me, it was just unbelievable.”
During the Skyscraper Live walk, Wallenda set two Guinness World Records. The first was for walking the steepest tightrope incline between two buildings, and the other was for the highest tightrope walk while blindfolded.
Nik Wallenda Has Been Participating in Circus Acts Since Childhood
Wallenda was born in Florida in 1979 and is the seventh-generation member of “The Flying Wallendas,” a family of aerialists that has been performing since the 1700s. They have been doing balancing acts without nets since the 1920s when Karl Wallenda made the family famous.
It’s not always safe for the members of the family, though. Wallenda’s great-grandfather Karl Wallenda was killed at 73 years old while attempting to walk between two buildings in Puerto Rico in 1978.
The tragedies following the Wallenda family started before Karl’s death. In July 1944, a fire broke out in a circus tent while the Wallendas were on a highwire. They escaped, but 167 people died.
In 1962, The Flying Wallendas were attempting a seven-person pyramid in Detroit, Michigan. They’d been performing the stunt for over a decade, but during the Detroit performance, the pyramid collapsed and two of the members were killed and Mario, one of Nik’s great-uncles was paralyzed from the waist down after the fall.
Nik’s sister, Lijana Wallenda, was injured in a 2017 accident but has since returned to walking the tightropes with her brother. She will not be participating in the Volcano Live walk, but she will be there cheering her brother on.
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