Nik Wallenda can’t visit a new place without envisioning a wire strung high above his head: Linking buildings, landmarks, nations. Even as a 6-year-old at Niagara Falls with his parents, he pictured walking a tightrope over the raging, whitewater maw.
Now 33, he’s ready to live out that childhood fantasy when he attempts Friday to become the first person ever to walk a tightrope directly over the brink of Niagara Falls.
“It’s just natural,” Wallenda, a seventh-generation member of the famed Flying Wallendas, explained. “When I drive into a city, I’m always thinking, ‘It would be cool to do a walk there.’ It’s just the way I think and always have.”
The daredevil is youthful and athletic, solidly built from gym workouts and a lifetime of training. But it’s the mental element, trusting in his skill and tuning out the potential danger, that can mean the difference between success and failure.
“You can either talk yourself out of doing something or you can talk yourself into doing something,” he said.
One of my most vivid childhood memories is watching Karl Wallenda fall to his death in 1978 in Puerto Rico. Early last year, Nik did the very same tightrope walk that killed his great-grandfather I certainly wish him the best of luck tonight.