“King of the Wire” Nik Wallenda takes on another great endeavor


Photo by Jose M. Osorio from Tribune Media Content used with permission

Nik Wallenda walks a tightrope across the Chicago River between Marina City’s west tower and the Leo Burnett Building in Chicago on Sunday, Nov. 2, 2014.

Anokhi Patel, Reporter

November 2, 2014, tight-rope walker Nik Wallenda set two new world records while crossing the Chicago River televised live on Discovery Channel. As one million people gathered to watch, Nik Wallenda perfromed two outrageous stunts. He first successfully completed the greatest incline walk, from the West Marina Building to the Leo Burnett Building. Then he accomplished the greatest blindfolded walk from the West Marina Building to the East Marina Building. Both of these accomplishments earned him another spot on the Guinness Book of Word Records.

According to the Chicago Tribune, he knew that he wanted to take on this risky endeavor, when he walked over the Niagra Falls June 15, 2012, and Grand Canyon just last summer, June 23, 2013. Wallenda had this daredevil talent in his blood, as his great grandfather risked his life pulling off this dauntless stunt, then his grandfather followed, and later his father, and now he continues this generations long tradition. He says his next mission is to re-create the walk in which his great grandfather managed to do a headstand on a 1200 ft trek across the Tallulah Falls in Georgia, where his great grandfather was 700 ft in air.

Previously, he had set seven world records. However, tonight he completed the greatest incline tightrope walk, world record nine, and the blindfold walk across the Chicago River, record ten. At thirty-five years old, he managed to walk two city blocks across the Chicago River from the Marina City West Tower and the Leo Burnett Building.The terrifying stunt took 6:51 minutes to complete, it was done 630 ft above the ground, and done at a 19 degree slant. However, he wasn’t done after his first walk, he had an even greater challenge waiting. Wallenda feeling the adrenaline, had second thoughts about doing the blindfolded walk on a tight rope before. Yet, he still managed to complete the blindfolded walk tonight. He walked 500 ft above the ground from the West Tower to the East Tower with the help of his father’s voice guiding him.

On June 4, 2011, Wallenda successfully completed a high wire walk in honor of his great grandfather, Karl Wallenda, who fell to his death, while he attempted the 135 ft long high wire crossing in Puerto Rico. Wallend said his greatest fear is reliving what happened to his great grandfather, but he continues staying confident and doing what he loves with the help of his family. They are there every step of the way, he says; they help him practice and make sure that he is safe.