SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - Legendary high-wire acrobat Nik Wallenda has walked across a wire 1800 feet above Niagara Falls. He’s also crossed the Grand Canyon without a safety harness on a two inch wide cable. Those are just a few of his nail biting challenges the world has seen. Now the Sarasota legend is ready to add to his impressive high wire resume.
“Walking over Times Square, probably the most iconic city landmark downtown city skyscape in the world, so it’s exciting for me to be able to do that but it’s extra exciting that I’m going to be able to do that with my sister,” Wallenda.
On June 23rd at 8pm during a live two-hour prime time special on ABC, Wallenda and his sister Lijana will walk 1250 feet on a high wire 25 stories above Times Square from opposite ends of the wire which is just 3/4 of an inch in diameter.
“We’ll walk towards each other, she will sit down in the middle, I’ll step over her and then she’ll get back up and we’ll walk back into the opposite sides,” said Wallenda.
Wallenda says this walk will be very emotional. Back in 2017, while practicing an eight person pyramid stunt, five of the performers lost their balance and plummeted more than 30 feet to the ground, while three others including Wallenda clung to the wire. His sister and others were badly injured and she has been on a very long road to recovery leading to this new challenge.
“How powerful is it that a woman who went through so much, who shouldn’t have lived from the accident she had here, the trauma doctors were amazed at her recovery,” said Wallenda.
The 7th generation high wire walker says his family’s first performance back in 1928 was in New York, so this performance has even more sentimental meaning. He and his sister are here on the Suncoast getting ready for the big day.
“A lot of the training we’ll be doing here at home will be kind of duplicating and recreating scenarios that we might face on that wire and the stability of that wire there on Times Square,” said Wallenda.