Daredevil Nik Wallenda Walks Orlando Eye Untethered

Wallenda said last week that he hopes he is an inspiration for others

Daredevil performer Nik Wallenda successfully completed a walk across the rim of the 400-foot Orlando Eye observation wheel in Florida.

The 36-year-old started his walk shortly after 8 a.m. Wednesday atop the city's newest attraction, which is set to open to the public early next month.

Wallenda rode to the top of the wheel, then navigated up ladders and around sections of the structure before beginning his walk, which lasted a few minutes. Prior to the feat, he called the event "fairly stressful and demanding."

"I guess there's more of a comfort zone on a wire,'' he said.

In November, Wallenda made two Chicago skyscraper crossings on high wires. Other previous tightrope walks took him to the brink of Niagara Falls in 2012 and across a Grand Canyon-area garage in 2013.

Florida Gov. Rick Scot was among those gathered to watch Wallenda.

Wallenda, who is married with three children, doesn't take his events lightly. He prays, thinks about death and practices rigorously while coldly calculating risks.

His great-grandfather, family patriarch Karl Wallenda, died in a fall during a stunt in 1978 in Puerto Rico. Two other family members also died decades ago while performing.

Being a daredevil performance artist is in Wallenda's blood. Wire walking is his specialty, and in recent years, his talents and scary stunts have been televised.

Wallenda said last week that he hopes he is an inspiration for others. People don't need to risk their lives, he said, but they should push themselves to do better, be greater.

"I think people become very complacent these days,'' he said. "I've always been a strong believer in pushing myself in everything I can do. Be a better husband, father and person in general. I hope that what I do inspires people to step out of their comfort zone and do greater things.''

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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