I still remember as a child hearing the name of the “Flying Wallenda’s.” These were the most amazing tightrope walkers and acrobats that I had ever known. One of the downfalls of being Kings and Queens of the high wire were tragic accidents. Many members of this famous family had lost their lives doing what they love the most. The accident most remembered happened in 1962. During an act where they performed their infamous pyramid featuring seven of the family members, the pyramid collapsed; taking with it the lives of two Wallenda’s and injuring another.
Growing up a Wallenda
Nik Wallenda calls himself “King of the Wire.” Traveling throughout the world, he has done many death-defying acts with no safety net for protection. This all began for Nik at the age of two. His first performances with his family; he appeared dressed as a clown.. By the age of four he was walking wire while his parents threw objects towards him. They used this type of practice to show him how to negotiate the wire even if distracted. During his first visit to Niagara Falls, Nik decided he would one day cross it on a tightrope.
His first professional debut came while he was 13. He had the opportunity, in 1998 to be a part of the re-creation of the high wire act which killed some of his family many years before. The performance took place in Detroit, Mi. and was successful. After the performance, Nik knew this was the perfect career choice for him.
Wallenda along with his family set his first Guinness World Record by doing an eight person pyramid in Japan. Nik, his wife and children have performed at many amusement parks doing water acts and other dangerous performances. They are best known for the high wire, pole swaying, aerial hoop, and the wheel of death. Surprisingly, Nik has never been seriously hurt while performing.
Nik set his most outstanding Guinness World Record on June 15, 2012. Nik Wallenda walked 1800 feet across the widest part of Niagara Falls using a specially made wire. The walk was completed in 25 minutes with Nik getting down on one knee towards the end and blowing kisses to the crowd. He actually ran the final few feet to become the first person to ever cross Niagara Falls on a high wire. Adding to the intrigue of the crossing, Mr. Wallenda had to carry his passport with him to show to the Canadian authorities when he got on the other side.
You would think with all that has been accomplished by Nik and his family he would be ready to settle down, but that’s not the case. He plans to walk across the Grand Canyon in honor of his Great Grandfather Karl. The family also has an upcoming reality show on the Science Channel that will air June 18, 2012. Becoming a worldwide celebrity is what Nik aims to obtain for himself and for the legacy of his family.
I love Nik Wallenda because he doesn’t look at a challenge and think that it’s impossible. He searches out the way to make it possible. In doing so, his life has exemplified all that is extraordinary.