He made it! Here’s what the world had to say
blog by Ben Kirst • June 16, 2012 @ 8:53am
First of all, not to toot the old company horn too loudly, but I opened my Saturday Buffalo News on the front step this morning and was wowed by the huge photo of Nik Wallenda and Charlie Specht, T.J. Pignataro and Maki Becker’s excellent story. The lead—“Nik Wallenda became a true King of the High Wire on Friday night as the seventh-generation circus performer triumphantly sprinted off the 1,800-foot steel cable strung over Niagara Falls, dashing any doubts of all the nay-sayers who said such a feat could never be done”—actually gave me the chills. Well done, gang.
So he did it, tether and all. And say what you want about tether removing the element of death, or the massive hype surrounding the event, or the essential silliness of people walking on wires over high places—when Wallenda was actually out there on the wire, over the Falls, it was pretty amazing. Especially in the opening, when it looks like Wallenda is walking through the set of an A-Ha video, and then you remember—oh, wait, that whiteness behind hin is actually a few million gallons of raging water.
What is the world saying about Nik Wallenda? Let’s take a look.
ABC News: After he greeted his wife and family, Wallenda was approached by customs agents, who asked him for his passport, which he presented. “No, I’m not carrying anything over. I promise,” he said. “What is the purpose of your trip sir?” the agent asked. “To inspire people around the world,” Wallenda said.
National Post: An estimated one billion television viewers saw Mr. Wallenda’s walk, which was held after dark in order to make it as accessible to a global audience as possible. It was also one of the first international news stories out of Canada in several weeks not involving a dismemberment or murder. “He’s a guy with a stick and he got the world’s attention,” said Wayne, at The Drink Shop, just off the city’s main drag.
Los Angeles Times: Wallenda said the first thing he did after the walk was call his grandmother to let her know he was fine…“It’s been a long time since I camped out for a special event,” Laura Gonnering said. “Last time was to get Garth Brooks tickets.”
The Guardian: As far as feats of derring-do go, they don’t get much more primal or more terrifying. Man versus nature, a famous acrobat pitted against an ancient gorge filled with a gazillion gallons of cascading water. And only a slippery, swaying high-wire, one the circumference of an espresso cup, was strung between them. But from his first tentative toe touches, to the cheers that erupted as he crossed finish line half a kilometer later, Nik Wallenda kept his poise as he strolled across Niagara Falls and into the history books on Friday night.
The Australian: While past tightrope crossings have taken place across the Niagara Gorge, Wallenda today walked from the US side of the Falls to the Canadian side contending with the mist, wind and spray generated by the mighty Falls directly below him. As he neared the Canadian side, the 105,000-strong crowd erupted. Metres from the end Wallenda stopped, knelt on one knee and blew a kiss into the crowd, ever the showman. He answered the deafening cheers of the crowd with a fist punch to the air and a grin from ear-to-ear. “I feel like I’m on cloud nine right now,” the 33-year-old, seventh-generation aerialist told the crowd after stepping off the cable. “The impossible is not quite impossible if you put your mind to it. It was a very unique, a weird sensation but I was very focused.”
Photo by Derek Gee / The Buffalo News