Nik Wallenda, a high wire artist from a family of daredevils, successfully walked across a portion of a gorge near the Grand Canyon earlier tonight. During the 23 minute stroll, Wallenda could be heard repeatedly thanking and praising Jesus. The dangerous journey was aired on the Discovery Channel as viewers watched, no doubt on their edge of their seats.
Wallenda hugged and kissed his wife and children before beginning the walk, which took place 1,500 feet up in the air and stretched 1,400 feet across the gorge. It made for incredibly tense television viewing as winds whipped the cable, causing it to bounce up and down and sway back and forth. At one point, Wallenda could be heard saying “winds are way worse than I expected.” Another time, he dramatically crouched down in an attempt to steady the cable.
Numerous times throughout the walk, he pleaded with Jesus to help him relax, and said he was feeling incredibly tense. His father spoke with Wallenda through a headset, reassuring him that whatever he was feeling in terms of anxiety was not apparent on camera. Wallenda was wearing a camera and microphone, recording every tenuous step.
The Discovery Channel ran the broadcast with a 10-second delay, presumably to save viewers from the unthinkable if the worst were to happen. That was not be, however, as Wallenda completed the walk with no missteps.
He is a seventh-generation daredevil, but his family has not been spared tragedy in the past. His great grandfather died while attempting a similar tightrope walk in Puerto Rico.
While the press had been reporting that Wallenda was to walk across the Grand Canyon, his stunt took place over a gorge about 10 miles away in order to preserve the park’s dedication to a high-quality experience for its visitors.
Maureen Oltrogge, a Grand Canyon National Park Spokesman, said that Wallenda could not have walked across the canyon itself because “events must not unreasonably impair the park’s atmosphere of peace and tranquility or have an unacceptable impact on the experience of park visitors.”
Despite the event taking place over a gorge, it was still highly risky. Wallenda did not use a safety net or any safety equipment at all. He had previously been successful in walking across Niagara Falls.
Social media had a lot to say about the stunt, including commentary on how panic-inducing the tightrope walk was. Twitter user andreabarber 50m said “I can’t handle this flying Wallenda guy, I need a Costco-sized bottle of Xanax just watching/peeking from between my fingers. “
Other talked about Wallenda’s constant references to Jesus:
“Everyone has different skills. Wallenda’s is on a tightrope. What did you do with your gift to glorify God today? He made Jesus trend” said Twitter user @Dloesch.
@jackngraham said “Wallenda praising Jesus as he is scaring the rest of us to death. This is freaking me out.”
Others made light of his continual prayers. Twitter user Mikecanrant joked “This Wallenda tightrope walk is obviously sponsored by Jesus’ Tacos. Half price taco Tuesday! At the corner of 5th and Main.”
Whether or not Wellenda’s chosen deity had a hand in his success, the stunt was breathtaking and his family is undoubtedly glad he made it across unscathed.
By: Rebecca Savastio
Source: USA Today