Niagara Falls' Craziest Stunt in a Century
Nik Wallenda grew up in a circus. Really, a circus. As did six generations before him in a family famously known as the “Flying Wallendas.” He gave his first tightrope performance at the age of 13, and has since set the world record for farthest distance traveled by bicycle on high wire (135 feet). All of that helps explain why the legend, now 33, entered into a two-year-long battle with the U.S. and Canadian governments to earn the right to make the following announcement:
On Friday, June 15, Nik Wallenda will walk over Niagara Falls on a two-inch-thick cable strung 1,800 feet across the gorge. This will be the first time in more than a century that someone has attempted such a stunt.
“This is a dream of mine that I’ve always wanted to do,” Wallenda told The New York Times. “I get chills thinking about it.”
Before Wallenda’s boyhood vision can become reality, he’ll spend 10 days training publicly in a parking lot used by the Seneca Niagara Casino, near the Falls, using equipment to simulate the moisture and wind that he’ll experience as he treads between countries.
Receiving permission for his daredevilry required lobbying both governments to lift the ban on public performances at Niagara. Wallenda finally secured the support he needed last September when New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, hoping to rake in valuable tourism dollars, gave him one year to walk the wire, according to Reuters. Canada caved in February, but implemented a ban on any follow-up stunts for the next 20 years.
Wallenda will choose which country he crosses to—Canada or the States—the day of the feat, depending on weather conditions.