Nik Wallenda: Why Discovery Is Letting Him Cross the Grand Canyon Sans Net or Harness

Wallenda has no hidden parachute, Discovery says

Last Updated: July 24, 2014 @ 12:17 PM

"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.

Also read: Nik Wallenda on His Grand Canton Walk: We All Stare Death in the Face Daily

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."