June 23, 2013 7:11pm PT by Kimberly Nordyke
Tightrope Walker Nik Wallenda Successfully Completes Grand Canyon Walk on Live TV
Tightrope legend Nik Wallenda successfully completed his walk over the Grand Canyon, becoming the first person ever to do so.
The walk -- 1,500 feet up and 1,400 feet across -- took 22 minutes and 54 seconds to complete for Wallenda, known as "The King of the High Wire" and part of the legendary Flying Wallendas family. It was televised live Sunday on Discovery Channel.
When he first stepped onto the cable, he noted that his shoes had a little dust on them, making them a bit slippery. About a minute later, he said the dust was not an issue any longer. About two and a half minutes in, he had to take a pause, squatting to catch his balance.
He also immediately admired the view from 1,500 feet above the Little Colorado River.
"Praise Jesus, look at that view," he said.
Wallenda, who wrote about his faith in his new book Balance: A Story of Faith, Family, and Life on the Line, repeatedly said "Thank you, Jesus" and "Praise you, Jesus" during the walk. He also asked God to help "calm the cable down" at one point.
"You're my king, you're my savior, you're my protector, you're my strength, you're my Lord," he said, later asking for help calming himself down as well.
Asked how he was doing about four minutes in, he replied, "Good, a lot of wind."
Several minutes in, he told his father, who was helping guide him and coaching him through the walk, that the winds were "a lot stronger than I expected."
About nine minutes in, he admitted: "I'm very tense. Joe Cool ain't so cool right now."
Toward the end, he thanked "Discovery Channel for believing in me" and gave a shout-out to network executives including Discovery Networks president Eileen O'Neill and vp production and development Howard Swartz.
"Pay attention -- you're not there yet," his dad chided him. Wallenda said he was "trying to distract" himself.
After completing the walk, he embraced his wife and kids. "I did it," he said, wiping his eyes.
"It was way more windy and the movement of the cable and the side walls as I was walking were getting in the way and confusing," he said, adding: "It took every bit of me to stay focused that entire time. My arms are aching like you wouldn't believe."
He also said his mouth was extremely dry.
"I feel like I walked in the desert for three weeks, not 20 minutes," he said.
He added that his next goal is to "walk between two skyscrapers in New York City."
During a recent visit to The Hollywood Reporter's Cover Lounge, Wallenda said he doesn't get scared when attempting such a risky stunt.
"I think you have a choice," he said. "You can decide whether you want to get scared by something or not. You can go into a haunted house with the mindset of, 'This is going to freak me out,' or go into the haunted house with the mindset of, 'Who cares; this is all set up; it’s all gimmicks and it’s not going to scare me at all.'"
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