Wallenda: Spectacle, legacy inspire Chicago walk
Wallenda: Spectacle, legacy inspire Chicago walk Tightrope walker Nik Wallenda walks the high wire from the U.S. side to the Canadian side over the Horseshoe Falls in Niagara Falls, Ontario in 2012 (Reuters)
Wallenda: Spectacle, legacy inspire Chicago walk
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Nik Wallenda is a showman who crossed Niagara Falls and an Arizona gorge on a high wire and now has his sights on Chicago's iconic skyscrapers partly because of the city's reputation for being windy.

The chance to tread between buildings 50 stories above the Windy City and over the Chicago River amid glittering lights and on live television aired in 220 countries was just the kind of encore he was looking for, Wallenda said Wednesday, one day after announcing his Nov. 2 feat that will be broadcast on the Discovery Channel.

"I enjoy taking it up a notch," Wallenda, 35, a member of "The Flying Wallendas" family, told The Associated Press. "Chicago is home of the world's first skyscraper and my family is often referred to as the first family of the high wire. Then there's the Windy City ... which just sounds cool: Nik Wallenda is going to walk in the Windy City."

He plans to traverse between one of the city's Marina Towers, twin corncob-shaped buildings on the north side of the river, to the 635-foot-tall Leo Burnett Building, without a harness or net. It will be the second-highest walk of his career, after the Little Colorado River Gorge, near the Grand Canyon. And will be done at a 15-degree incline, steeper than any previous walk. Wallenda then will cross the river at ground level and make a second tightrope walk between Marina Towers.

Wallenda said weather always is his biggest challenge. So he'll practice at his training camp in Sarasota, Florida. There he uses wind machines that can be cranked up to 120 mph, though he won't attempt the actual feat if winds are over 50 mph.

On the day of his walk, "it just becomes nothing but a mental game," he said. "I know I can walk the distance, I know I can walk on the cable ... I know I can walk uphill, but then there's the mental challenge and my mind wants to wander, like: What if it's cold? And what if it's wet and icy?"

Wallenda said he's had the full cooperation of Chicago officials. He'd like to make the walk without a safety net. Although the nets are a state law, he hopes officials will allow him not to use one.

"It's art to me," he said "I'm painting a picture, hopefully an inspirational picture (for people) that no matter what their dreams are that they can fulfill them ... as long as they work hard enough at it."

"I just follow my heart and what I feel will be fascinating," said Wallenda. "I do what I feel will inspire and impress people; that's my job as an entertainer."

Critical thinking challenge: Why is weather always the biggest challenge?

Source URL: https://www.tweentribune.com/article/teen/wallenda-spectacle-legacy-inspire-chicago-walk/

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COMMENTS (15)
  • TaylorSeifert-Ste
    9/27/2014 - 02:15 p.m.

    Wallenda is a very brave man. I can't imagine walking on a wire that high, on an incline and without a net, even if someone payed me a million dollars to do it. I hope that if he goes through with his plan everything works out.

  • nicolld-Koc
    9/28/2014 - 10:38 p.m.

    I Know Nick from the circus long ago! and i am Glad he's doing great on what he does! he's the best Tightrope walker i ever seen! and i seen many, he can cross absolutely Anything!
    The weather is a challenge for every circus performer because it can get very dangerous on the things we perform, especially Tightrope because they can lose their balance if its too windy or if its raining

  • cm2001KING
    9/29/2014 - 08:39 a.m.

    The weather can be very dangerous when doing this type of "stunt" it can be very severe and can push you off the rope and cause you to die it can push you off just a little or can just give you a slight breeze

  • danielarodrguez
    9/29/2014 - 02:20 p.m.

    Critical Thinking:
    The weather can be very dangerous when doing this type of things, it can be very severe and can push you off the rope and cause you to die. Weather is always the biggest challenge because it can have a big impact on anything you want to do. I think its crazy how he's going to be up that height, and how he has went over Niagara falls just welcome on a line to the other side.

  • NJ2001Game
    11/17/2014 - 01:01 p.m.

    Weather is the biggest challenge because if it is windy or rainy it could mess up the tightrope, inevitably causing the walker to lose balance and fall.

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