Wallenda has no hidden parachute, Discovery says
"Skywire Live With Nik Wallenda" has reminded viewers several times during the Discovery special's first hour that the 34-year-old daredevil is making his highwire crossing over the Grand Canyon with no net or harness — even though ABC insisted on a tether when he crossed Niagara Falls live last year.
So why isn't Discovery insisting on one?
"It was Nik's decision and we honored it," a network spokeswoman told TheWrap Sunday night.
And for those speculating on Twitter that he must have a parachute hidden under his T-shirt, Discovery says that's not the case. "No parachute," the spokeswoman said.
Wallenda told TheWrap last week that he doesn't use a net because it provides a false sense of security, but if he feels at risk, he will lower himself to the wire and cling to it, waiting to be rescued.
"I've got three children and a wife," Wallenda said. "And if I thought there was even a small chance of me losing my life Sunday, I wouldn't be doing it."
Wallenda is moments away from walking a line that stretches the length of four football fields — 1,400 feet — over a height of 1,500 feet — higher than the Empire State Building.
Wallenda's family has worked, usually without a net, for seven generations. But his relatives include a great-grandfather who died at 73 while attempting a tightrope walk at a much lower height than the one Wallenda is about to attempt.
As of this writing, his family is saying a prayer as he prepares to begin what Discovery is calling "the greatest stunt of all time."