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Born-Again Christian Nik Wallenda to Tightrope Walk Across Grand Canyon

( [email protected] ) Jun 21, 2013 01:13 AM EDT
Tightrope-walking daredevil Nik Wallenda, who considers faith as the most important part of his life, will cross the Grand Canyon on Sunday with no harness or safeguards in place.
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, June 15, 2012. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

Tightrope-walking daredevil Nik Wallenda, who considers faith as the most important part of his life, will cross the Grand Canyon on Sunday with no harness or safeguards in place.

“It is a dream coming true. My family has been doing this for over 200 years and I am carrying on a legacy,” seventh generation tightrope-walking Wallenda told Today just days before his feat. “What better way to do it than to be the first person ever in the world to cross the Grand Canyon. This truly is my playground.”

Sunday’s walk across Grand Canyon is 1,250 feet across, approximately the length of four football fields, and 1,500 feet high, about the height of Empire State Building.

“‘Life is on the wire, everything else is just waiting.’ For our family, that is the truth,” Wallenda quoted his great grandfather Karl Wallenda, who lost his life on the wire when he was 73-year-old.

Wallenda told Today’s Natalie Morales that more than anything the his grandfather was an inspiration to him, and he knows the reason why his great grandfather lost his life. “I’m not in that situation,” he said, adding the ways in which he believes he is fully-prepared.

“I’ve trained for this distance. I’ve trained holding on to that cable. I’ve trained under winds of 91 miles per hour,” he said. In case of emergency, Wallenda said he will hold on to that wire and rescue teams and standby helicopters can get to him between 30-60 seconds.

“I could hold on to the cable. I mean when it comes to your life you can hold on for a long long time,” he said.

Wallenda holds six Guinness World Records for various acrobatic feats, but is best known as the first person to walk a tightrope stretched directly over Niagara Falls on June 15, 2012.

Commenting on his walk across Niagara Falls, he told Fox News, “What I do is very calculated. I train a long time for it and I consider it more of an art.” He aims to be “over-prepared” for every stunt he does, training six hours a day, six days a week. He does ten hours of weight training and five hours of aerobic exercise each week. Even so, he says wire walking is primarily a mental skill.

Wallenda describes himself as a “born-again Christian,” and credits God for his success, saying that what he does on the high-wire is a gift from God. Before every wire walk, he joins his family in prayer and he always wears a cross as he performs, according to ABC News. He remarks, “The Bible says pray without ceasing and I’m always praying.” He also said he tries to live “an upright life” and be a good example.

On June 4th, Wallenda has published his second book titled "A Story of Faith, Family, and Life on the Line."In which he describes balance as the theme of his life: between his work and family, his faith in God and artistry, his body and soul. It resonates from him when performing and when no one is looking. When walking across Niagara Falls, he prayed aloud the entire time, and to keep his lust for glory and fame in check, Nik returned to the site of his performance the next day and spent three hours cleaning up trash left by the crowd.

The Grand Canyon walk will occur on June 23, 2013, and will be broadcasted live Sunday at 8ET/ 5PT p.m. on Discovery Channel.

Nik Wallenda walking across Niagara Fall