20th June, 2012
Swirling winds and heavy mists from the falls below completely soaked famous aerialist Nik Wallenda as he gingerly balanced on a steel cable 200 feet above the raging torrent.
“I prayed non-stop,” Mr Wallenda, 33, a born-again Christian told ABC’s Good Morning America. “The Bible says to pray without ceasing and I’m always praying."
TAKLE A DEEP BREATH: Nik Wallenda waving to the crowd as he prepares to walk a tightrope across Niagara Falls. PICTURE: Dave Pape/wikipedia
"I believe in a thing called unmerited favor. It’s undeserved, but God’s involvement in my life has gotten me to where I am in my career.”
- Nik Wallenda
Mr Wallenda made history Friday night when he became the first man to walk over Niagara Falls on a tightrope in a 25-minute spectacle televised live on ABC News.
Before he began the audacious attempt, he fasted for eight hours. Then his wife, Erindera, and three children joined hands in a small circle and prayed along the riverside before he set out, just after 10pm. The mist was so thick it obscured him from the Canadian side for the first 10 minutes.
Mr Wallenda wore a waterproof outfit and leather shoes specially designed by his mother. Powerful TV lights focused on him the entire journey, as 10 million people around the world followed the event on television.
The acrobat had a two-way radio and a small earpiece, and was able to communicate with his father. His microphone allowed TV viewers to hear him praising God throughout the journey as he traversed the cable from New York to Canada.
“My God, it’s incredible, it’s breathtaking,” Wallenda said when he first started over the horseshoe-shaped falls.
“Oh Lord, you’re my Savior, you’re my King,” he exclaimed, as he balanced over the most dangerous part of the falls.
“You’re my Jesus, my Counselor. You’re my Wisdom. I praise you Jesus. Thank you Jesus. Thank you Lord. I praise you my Father.”
At one critical moment, his forearm began to cramp and his hand went numb.
“When I’m walking a wire like that, the balancing pole is almost 40 pounds,” he told GMA. “It takes a lot of forearm work and my forearm started to cramp worse than it ever has before.”
But his training, extraordinary focus and fervent prayers made the difference. “It went away, so I was good to go.”
The acrobat’s astonishing feat adds to the legend of the renowned Wallenda family, famous for thrilling audiences and the subject of a 1978 TV movie, The Great Wallendas. Nik is a seventh-generation circus performer within the famous family.
He grew up in a “Bible-believing, God-fearing family,” which he says provides stability and peace.
His faith is a vital component of his daily life. “It’s the most important part of my life,” he says. “I believe in a thing called unmerited favor. It’s undeserved, but God’s involvement in my life has gotten me to where I am in my career.”
The mental and physical challenges were enormous for Mr Wallenda. “Of course there’s some nerves there, especially when I was walking directly over the brink of the falls. Mentally, your mind says, What are you doing?” he told GMA.
“That’s when I tell myself, The wire’s the same whether you’re over land or over the water or you’re on the moon. It’s still the same. So focus on the wire and focus on the other side.”
“We all go through challenges. But once we get through them and we look back we say, Look how much our lives have changed from going through that challenge.’ If you can focus on the other side it’s that much easier.”
Mr Wallenda wants to cross the Grand Canyon next. “No one in the world has ever done it,” he notes. “It’s about 5,000 feet long, almost a mile – three times the other night.”