Daredevil walks on wire between two skyscrapers Nik Wallenda walks across the Chicago skyline blindfolded (AP photos for Discovery Communications)
Daredevil walks on wire between two skyscrapers
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Nik Wallenda wowed Chicago and the world Sunday with two hair-raising skyscraper crossings on high wires without a safety net or a harness. He even performed one crossing blindfolded.

"I feel incredible," Wallenda told reporters after completing the tightrope walks.

Recalling what made him nervous during his aerial performances, he said strong winds and the steeper-than-expected angle of the first high wire caused him to hurry his performance. Wallenda had practiced at a 15-degree angle but said the wire was actually at 19 degrees.

"That cable looked like it was going straight up," he said.

Thousands of cheering fans packed the streets around the city's Marina City towers. They watched the 35-year-old heir to the Flying Wallendas' family business complete the back-to-back walks.

"I love Chicago and Chicago definitely loves me," said Wallenda as he walked the wire, with the crowd below him screaming in support. "What an amazing roar!"

Wearing a bright red jacket, Wallenda tested the tension of the first wire. It took him about six and a half minutes to walk the 454 foot stretch from the Marina City west tower to the top of a building on the other side of the river. The tightrope began at 588 feet from the ground and ended at 671 feet.

The next stage of Wallenda's high-wire event he undertook blindfolded. It was a 94-foot walk 543 feet from the ground between the two Marina City towers. At a fast clip, he made the stretch in little more than a minute.

As he stepped from the wire, he tore off his blindfold. He waved and the crowd erupted in cheers.

The Discovery Channel used a 10-second delay for the broadcast. That would have allowed producers to cut away if anything went wrong. Chicago city officials ignored a state law requiring safety nets for aerial acts higher than 20 feet. Officials said the law wasn't intended for "elite" performers.

Just minutes before the anticipated start of his high-wire feat, Wallenda, who lives in Florida, said the chilly conditions in Chicago would not stall him.

"Yes there's some wind, yes it's cool, but it's not unbearable," he said. Just two days earlier, the city had been beset with gusty winds, snow, hail and driving rain.

Cynthia Garner traveled 90 miles from Belvidere, Illinois, with her husband Johnny to watch the event.

"It was amazing. I saw it with my own eyes," Garner said. "I was afraid when he first started. But once I saw that he didn't hesitate and just walked, I wasn't scared for him no more."

A year before Wallenda was born, his great-grandfather Karl Wallenda fell to his death during a tightrope stunt in Puerto Rico. He was 73.

What's next? Wallenda has said he wants to recreate a 1,200-foot-long high-wire walk made famous by his great-grandfather. The stunt at Tallulah Falls Gorge in Georgia included two headstands on the high wire.

Critical thinking challenge: Why did Nik wear a red jacket?

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COMMENTS (225)
  • 21wtmadd
    11/04/2014 - 12:11 p.m.

    I can't believe that a 35-year old did this. I heard about this on the news but I didn't see it. I'm glad nothing happened because that would have be sad. Also how did he do one of them blind-folded? Did he practice blind-folded? I would have died. I can barley do that on the ground. This is amazing. When did he start doing this.

  • 21gaware
    11/04/2014 - 12:12 p.m.

    I think this is amazing! I also think Nik wore a red jacket because if he fell people would be able to see where he landed. This inspires me to try something like this, just only a couple feet of the ground.

  • Ricardos-Fre
    11/04/2014 - 12:13 p.m.

    I think he is kind of crazy for doing that. What if he fell and died he wouldn't be able to survive that high fall.But it also looks cool to do that because no one has ever done that. But if they train you to do that then nothing will happen to you unless your shoe is untied then you will fall. But if you fall they should put something down there so you wont die.

  • 21cdchar
    11/04/2014 - 12:13 p.m.

    That is very cool how he would even be able to do that! I would not be able to do that I would chicken out in seconds. That is good that the discovery Channel had a 10 second delay because if he did fall no one would want to see it happen. I'm glad he didn't fall! that's amazing!!!!

  • climbersfootball
    11/04/2014 - 12:13 p.m.

    I think Nik wore a red jacket so that the people 500 feet below could see him in the night sky walking across the tightrope. Also, so if anything went wrong they could see where he is falling and try to do something about it.

  • Hugh12345678901234567890123456
    11/04/2014 - 12:15 p.m.

    Nik wore a red jacket because he wanted his fans to see him in the dark, and in case anything went wrong, he could be seen clearly. If he had a gray or black jacket, the people cheering wouldn't know if he succeeded or not.

  • Thorin
    11/04/2014 - 12:24 p.m.

    That was a very brave thing too do. I am 99% percent sure that he would not survive the fall. Also Nik wore a bright red jacket because he wanted the people too see him.

  • 21aavizi
    11/04/2014 - 12:28 p.m.

    I think that he is really brave for walking across two wires between two skyscrapers. I don't think I could do that since There was no harness or anything to keep from falling. I'm not afraid of heights but I am afraid of falling and the fact that you could die up there. And if you fell from all the way up the air basically, just imagine how the impact would feel like. I'm not going to take the chance of risking my life, but that is just my opinion and I don't want to die when crashing into a skyscraper.

  • KellyS6401
    11/04/2014 - 12:31 p.m.

    Nik Wallenda took a big risk by walking on a wire, given that he should be very proud for accomplishing that. I would personally never do anything like that considering how scared I am of highets, however he should be very proud for his braveness and for his courage.

  • Kate321
    11/04/2014 - 12:35 p.m.

    This is an extremely dangerous thing to do. I would never attempt something like this because it is not worth the risk on your life. He also did it night so it was probably really cold and scary up there. I can't believe that this man walked on a wire between two skyscrapers, let alone that he was also blind folded! This man was such a "daredevil" so I can understand why he would do such a thing because he is also probably an adrenaline junkie as well. He said that the views were amazing and I can imagine that they definitely were.

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