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Man on a Wire

June 17, 2013
June 17, 2013

Table of Contents
June 17, 2013

LEADING OFF
THE MAIL
FIELDER AND CABRERA
  • THERE'S NO PLACE TO HIDE AGAINST THE MIDDLE OF THE TIGERS' LINEUP: MIGUEL CABRERA AND PRINCE FIELDER ARE BOTH MASSIVE, FREAKISHLY STRONG AND HITTING SAVANTS. BUT THE SCARIEST THING ABOUT THE GAME'S MOST RELENTLESS 3--4 COMBO? THEY'RE BOTH OUT THERE GRINDING EVERY SINGLE DAY

  • Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder are the current kings when it comes to destructive middle-of-the-lineup tandems. But even if these other combinations can't quite match the Tigers pair's consistency and production, they can give pitchers fits

STANLEY CUP PREVIEW
NBA FINALS
Special Report
Departments

Man on a Wire

The scion of a famous family of aerialists is thinking big—like Grand Canyon big

Nik Wallenda's job is about narrow margins. For the man who crossed Niagara Falls on a two-inch-wide wire a year ago and who will walk 1,500 feet above the Grand Canyon on June 23, not much has to go wrong for calamity to strike. But courting disaster is in his blood.

This is an article from the June 17, 2013 issue

Wallenda, 34, is a seventh-generation member of the Flying Wallenda family. His parents, struggling to get by as circus performers, convinced him that their way of life was in decline. In 1997, even though he'd been walking on wires since he was two, Nik began filling out paperwork to enroll at Southeastern University, in Lakeland, Fla. That's when his family got the chance to perform in Detroit, to re-create a pyramid that had killed two Wallendas and paralyzed one in 1962. "One last hurrah," he says. But the number of camera crews at the event changed his mind. "I don't think it's dying; it's just changing," Wallenda decided. "We've got to go bigger."

Niagara Falls was Wallenda's greatest challenge in terms of preparation—he got laws in two countries changed, and he practiced with fire trucks spraying him. No hoses were needed to prepare him for the Grand Canyon—Tropical Storm Andrea hit during his training in Sarasota, Fla., and its 51-mph wind gusts were ideal practice.

Wallenda's goals include walks over every MLB and NFL stadium. He's settled on his next location, but he won't reveal it—he'll make the announcement after his Grand Canyon walk—but the options are endless. "Every city that I drive through, I'm looking up," he says.

PHOTOFRANK GUNN/THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP (WALLENDA ON TIGHTROPE)HIGH EXPECTATIONS ABC broadcast Wallenda's 2012 stroll over Niagara Falls; his Grand Canyon walk will be on the Discovery Channel.PHOTOTIM BOYLES/GETTY IMAGES (WALLENDA)[See caption above]