Nik Wallenda: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

ABC

Nik Wallenda is performing another death-defying stunt, carrying on his family legacy as a a high-wire walker and the seventh generation of The Flying Wallendas.

Wallenda will cross an active volcano on “Volcano Live!” Wednesday, March 4, at 8 p.m. EST.

In 2019 he crossed Times Square with his sister, Lijana Wallenda, 25 stories up June 23.

Nik and Lijana started on opposite ends of the wire, Lijana at Times Square 2 and Nik at Times Square 1, meet in the middle and continue to the opposite ends. Lijana crouched down while Nik stepped over her. The walk is 1,300 feet across and 25 stories high. Read more about the location.

He said it is one of his dreams to cross Times Square, and he considers it a tribute to his family, whose first performance was in New York City.

Nik Wallenda and his sister are a part of the seventh generation of Wallenda tightrope wallkers. The Flying Wallendas, also called The Great Wallendas trace their roots back to the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Their great-grandfather, Karl Wallenda, died in 1978 at age 73 during a high-wire stunt in San Juan, Puerto Rico at the Condado Plaza Hotel.

Lijana was seriously injured in a highwire stunt two years ago. The Wallenda family was rehearsing for a pyramid and four of them were injured. Nik was also involved in the pyramid, but managed to grab the wire.

He married his wife, Erindina Wallenda, in 1999. They have three children, Evita, Amadaos, and Yanni Wallenda.

Here’s what you need to know:


1. Nik Wallenda Is A 7th-Generation High-Wire Performer

Nik Wallenda is a member of the Wallenda family, also known as The Flying Wallendas and The Great Wallendas.

The tightrope-walking family traces its roots back 200 years to the Austro-Hungarian empire.

Wallenda says that high-wire stunts are “in his blood” and his family motto is “Never Give Up.”

In 1978, his great-grandfather, Karl Wallenda, died in a fall in San Juan, Peurto Rico. He was 78 years old. Wallenda was crossing between two buildings, starting at the Condado Plaza Hotel.

Wallenda is married to Erindia Wallenda. The couple were married in 1999. They have three children, Evita, Amadaos, and Yanni. Nik has also taught them to walk the high wire.

Wallenda started high-wire stunts at age 4. His first performance was at age 13.

“My life has been surrounded by a wire. It’s how I’ve raised my children. It’s how my family raised me. It is 7 generations, 200 years of this wire,” he said during an interview. “There’s been major successes and major failures, but I will tell you, the wire has never failed me. The wire is always there. I have a deep love for that wire because it in a sense is what keeps me alive.”

He shared the interview on Twitter, writing, “The wire has never failed me.”


2. He Was Also Involved In The Accident That Injured His Sister

Nik Wallenda’s was also involved in the accident that left his sister, Lijana Wallenda, seriously injured. The seventh-generation of Wallendas was rehearsing for an 8-person pyramid when several members of the family fell. Nik managed to grab the wire. Lijana fell 40 feet. Four other people were injured, but Lijana’s injuries were the most serious.

She broke multiple bones, including all of the bones in her face.

Nik shared a video on Twitter which included parts of the 911 call after the fall.

“The high wire act just fell. We have multiple people on the ground,” a 911 caller said. There are four on the ground that are not moving. I would imagine we’ve got some pretty good injuries.”

Wallenda said he remembers holding his sister’s head as she lay injured on the ground.

“I remember laying there and supporting my sister’s head. She broke every bone in her face,” he said.


3. He Has Planned A Times Square Walk For Years

Following Nik Wallenda’s Grand Canyon Walk June 23, 2013, Wallenda said it was a dream of his to cross between two skyscrapers in New York City.

“My dream for my next stunt is to walk between two skyscrapers in New York City,” he said in an interview after the Grand Canyon Walk. “I can imagine the millions of fans that will be there watching, and that really is what holds me up are my fans.”

The tightrope-walking family traces its roots back 200 years to the Austro-Hungarian empire. Wallenda is one of the members of the seventh generation of Wallenda tight rope walkers, known as The Flying Wallendas or The Great Wallendas.


4. He Considers The Times Square Walk A Family Tribute

Wallenda has planned for years to cross Times Square on a high wire. He considers the performance to be a family tribute. He said in an ABC interview his family’s first performance in the United States was in New York City.

“In 1928, my family performed at Madison Square Garden in the City of Dreams for the first time in the USA,” he said. “And on June 23, I have the great opportunity to fulfill a lifelong dream of my own by paying homage to that performance as we return for my most exhilarating feat yet. I am beyond excited to be able to walk with my sister, Lijana, as she overcomes near-death injuries and continues the Wallenda tradition of never giving up!”

The Great Wallendas, or The Flying Wallendas, trace its roots back 200 years. Wallenda comes from a long line of tightrope walking performers.


5. Lijana Wallenda’s Accident Made Him Fearful

Nik Wallenda said his sister’s accident two years ago make him fearful to perform. He said he worries about his sister. The family motto is “Never Give Up” and he said both he and Lijana plan to stick to the motto.

A video of Lijana Wallenda’s accident was recently released. Nik Wallenda said watching it brought all the memories back, and made him feel fear about the high-wire for the first time.

“I suffered with challenges of having to relive that accident. I didn’t fall 40 feet. She’s the one who fell,” he said during an interview with Good Morning America.

Seeing the high-wire he and his sister would soon be walking was intimidating, he said.

“It’s pretty intimidating to me and again I didn’t fall 40 feet. So what she’s having to overcome to me is almost impossible and I’m the one who’s done this my whole life as well,” he said.

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