NIAGARA FALLS, Ont. – Aerialist Nik Wallenda battled brisk winds and thick mist Friday to make history, becoming the first person to walk across Niagara Falls on a tightrope. “The mist was so thick, so challenging, those winds hit me from every which direction, was definitely more than I expected for sure,” Wallenda said moments after reaching the Canadian side of the falls.
Wallenda was unbelievably calm as he slowly, painstakingly, proceeded step-by-step on a steel cable stretched over the falls, he even found time to give an interview as he was perched precariously over the raging waters below. “Oh my gosh, it’s an unbelieveable view,” he told ABC, which was broadcasting the spectacle live.”
“I’m so blessed to be in the position I am, to be the first person to be right here and to be the first person in the world who will ever be right here, this is truly breathtaking,” said Wallenda who was wearing a microphone. “This is what dreams are made of people, pursue your dreams.” Afterward he credited his training regimen for helping him maintain his ice-cold composure, plus a health dose of prayer.
A lot of praying that’s for sure, and that helps a lot,” Wallenda said after his walk. Wallenda, dressed in red and black and holding a long pole horizontally for balance, appeared soaked from the raging waters below. However Wallenda sounded calm, carrying on a dialogue with his father who was asking him how the conditions were and whether a safety harness he was wearing was bothering him. In a second interview with ABC, after he crossed the border midway over the water, he admitted he was “drained” from the very physical effort. “That mist was thick and it was hard to see at times,” he said. “There was so much moving around me, wind going one way, mist going another, it wasn’t pretty.” “It was definitely quite a challenge.”
Thousands were at Niagara Falls watching him cross the raging waters below with a much bigger audience in Canada and the U.S. watching on television. Some people arrived Friday afternoon to stake out a good spot. The crowd on the Canadian side of the falls cheered as he approached the end of his journey. He responded by waving his fist in the air. Wallenda gathered with his family before the event and they prayed.
Others have crossed the water on tightropes, but over the gorge downstream and not for more than 100 years. Wallenda’s historic feat didn’t allow him to escape a ritual that everyone who enters Canada goes through – he was greeted by two border guards who asked to see his passport. “No I’m not carrying anything over, I promise,” a tired but happy Wallenda told the customs agents.