The Flying Wallendas cross Times Square on 1,300-foot long wire suspended 25 floors high in historic stunt
Nik and Lijana Wallenda marked their comeback with an incredible stunt that saw them cross Times Square on a wire the width of a quarter
Nik Wallenda and his sister Lijana Wallenda hail from The Flying Wallendas, a long line of accomplished daredevils who are known for performing highwire acts without a safety net. On Sunday, June 23, the pair accomplished something that had never been done before by becoming the first individuals to successfully cross New York's Time Square on a tightrope.
The gravity-defying event was broadcast live on ABC and saw Nik and Lijana cross from opposite ends of a 1,300-foot-long wire just three-fourths of an inch wide — the same width as a quarter — that was stretched between the 25th floors of 1 Times Square and 2 Times Square in a little over half an hour.
As they readied themselves for the incredible feat, they waved to expectant fans gathered in the area and received a prayer from Pastor Joel Osteen.
Nik, at around 9.20 pm, was the first to stride out into the wire, oozing the same characteristic confidence that has seen him lay claim to nine Guinness World Records over the years, reported the Daily Mail.
Lijana, understandably, was more nervous. The event marked her return to the tightrope scene following a horrifying 2017 accident that saw her break every bone in her face, as well as suffer injuries to her ribs and foot.
While there was no safety net for the Times Square stunt, both wore safety harnesses — a feature which Nik has expressed a distaste for in the past — as they began the perilous journey across from opposite ends while tens of thousands in the area and around the country watched in eager anticipation.
The trickiest bit came as the pair met each other in the middle. As audiences held their breath, Lijana sat down and balanced herself on the wire while her brother carefully navigated over her.
It took Nik about 26 minutes to find himself at the other end, with Lijana inching slowly by assuring herself that "fear will not overcome me" and making it to the end of the rope at around the 36-minute mark.
The feat is made even more remarkable after taking the context into consideration. In February 2017, a rehearsal of an eight-person pyramid highwire act for Circus Sarasota involving the brother-sister duo that was also an attempt at a new Guinness World Record went awry when the pyramid collapsed.
While Nik managed to cling to the wire, his sister was not so lucky. Among the five performers who fell to the ground, it was Lijana who suffered the worst injuries, something that weighed on her mind as she prepared herself for the tight-rope act at Times Square.
But she had no qualms about why she was going ahead with the stunt despite seeing her ankle, the same one injured in the 2017 fall, act up before the big moment.
"I knew I'd get back on the wire," she said in an interview leading up to the walk. "It's my life. It's my passion. This is who I am. This is what I love. it's still hard sometimes. I doubt sometimes. But I put my trust completely in God and believe he has given me the mental strength."
"Walking the wire is my passion," she revealed. "But I kind of lost that and forgot who I was after the fall... And I finally remembered who I was through this whole training. I knew I had to push through, and boy, I'm so glad I did."