Grand stunt

daredevil completes death defying high-wire walk over grand canyon

LITTLE COLORADO RIVER — Daredevil Nik Wallenda completed a historic high-wire walk on a two-inch steel cable over the Grand Canyon yesterday and was greeted by wild cheers after his hair-raising stunt.

Wallenda, the self-described “King of the High Wire”, took 22 minutes and 54 seconds to walk 1,400 feet across the crimson-hued canyon with just a distant ribbon of the Little Colorado River beneath him. The event was broadcast live around the world.

Wallenda, the first person to cross the canyon, made the walk without a tether or safety net.

Wallenda could be heard praying almost constantly during the walk, murmuring “Thank you, Jesus.” He kissed the ground when he reached the other side.

“It took every bit of me to stay focused that entire time,” Wallenda said. “My arms are aching like you wouldn’t believe.”

He said he stopped and crouched down twice, first because of the wind, the second because the cable had picked up an unsettling rhythm.

He spat on his hands and rubbed it on the sole of his shoe for grip as the cable had gathered dust.

Wallenda said the walk was stressful. But he also said the view, from 1,500 feet above the snaking river, was “breathtaking”.

“It was a dream come true,” Wallenda said of the crossing. “This is what my family has done for 200 years, so it’s part of my legacy.”

A seventh-generation member of the “Flying Wallendas” family of acrobats, Wallenda also made history last year by becoming the only person to complete a high-wire walk over the brink of Niagara Falls. He used the same cable yesterday.

The 34-year-old first dreamed ofyesterday’s challenge during a visit to the Grand Canyon with his parents as a teenager.

There was no word on the financial benefits of Wallenda’s stunt. He was listed by the Discovery Channel as one of the executive producers of the live broadcast. A Discovery spokesman could not be reached for comment. (Reuters)

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