Wallenda fulfilled his life-long dream of becoming the first person to walk a wire directly over Niagara Falls on June 15, 2012, and not only joined the ranks of legendary daredevils, he proved to an audience of over 13 million that no obstacle is too great to overcome in pursuit of one’s dreams.
The heart-pounding event took two years of strategic planning which included geological surveys, engineering feats and political lobbying of U.S. and Canadian officials to change laws in both countries that, for the past 116 years, banned daredevil stunts at Niagara Falls. Walking directly over the 600,000 gallons per second roaring over the Horseshoe Falls, he battled wind swells and dangerously thick mist at the centre of the falls, before emerging to the delight of 120,000 fans on the Canadian side awaiting his arrival.
On June 23, 2013, He completed yet another life-long dream, this one 6 years in the making, becoming the first person to cross the Grand Canyon on a wire. His network partners, Discovery Channel, allowed him to undertake the walk in the Wallenda family tradition, completely untethered, and broke new ground as a network, broadcasting the event live in 183 countries.
At a height of 1,500 ft above the Little Colorado River, Wallenda faced the challenges of wind gusts measured at 48 miles per hour, optical illusions of the canyon walls, and a dusty and precariously moving cable. Viewers listened breathlessly as he described the intense conditions he faced to Terry, his father and safety coordinator, and his Uncle Mike, his lead engineer, and also as he thanked God and prayed for peace in the midst of adversity as he travelled the distance of 1,300 hundred feet across. After nearly 23 minutes on the cable and realising the end was in sight, he began to thank those that had made the walk possible, before kneeling to the cable, saluting his fans, and sprinting in the final distance to the waiting arms of family and friends.
Through television and other media outlets, the event reached an audience of 23 million in the U.S. alone, and millions more worldwide, setting viewing and social media records in the process. Revealing only days later the added adversity of battling and being treated for a severe cold the day of the event, he once again exhibited his motto, Never Give Up, and continued in his mission to inspire those around the world to pursue their dreams.
In June of 2013, his inspiring biography, Balance: A Story of Faith, Family & Life on the Line, hit shelves in major book stores throughout the country. In his book, Wallenda chronicles the challenges and triumphs not only of the walk over Niagara Falls, but also of his incredible life journey from circus performer to world renowned daredevil.
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