Hundreds of onlookers — if not, more than a thousand people — enjoyed one last opportunity this morning to see Nik Wallenda train at Seneca Niagara Casino & Hotel for his historic June 15 walk over Niagara Falls. It was a bittersweet end for Nik, as he was quick to note that he would really miss the crowds but also desperately needed a break. Severe physical and mental exhaustion had set in, and Nik struggled a bit on the high-wire with an aching back and hamstring muscle. He then announced during the noon press/public daily debriefing that he unfortunately was cancelling the afternoon’s final training session.
Nik certainly did not disappoint morning attendees, however. He completely scaled the high-wire from end-to-end and back, and signed seemingly-endless autographs and posed for photos upon completion of the debriefing.
Perhaps to no surprise, the largest contingent of media arrived since the training sessions began. In addition to all local television stations and major newspapers, a crew with CNN covered the entire morning session. Also in attendance were China Central TV, ABC News 20/20, TCT (Total Christian Television), and the Associated Press.
We learned some final tidbits of information before Nik left with his family for the Buffalo Niagara International Airport to take an early-evening flight home to Sarasota, Florida:
- Nik thought he accomplished everything he wanted and more with the training sessions. “I learned how cable would interact,” he said, “and I’m extremely happy with how comfortable and confident I felt with yesterday’s water and wind machines. The day of rain [on Wednesday, May 16] also built confidence. It’s really a mental game up on the wire.”
- While Nik is still unhappy about the prospect of wearing a harness on June 15, he will be practicing with one back home. The harness will be placed around his waist, clipped on his back, and will trail behind him as he walks.
- To set up the wire over Niagara Falls, a helicopter will take a “messenger rope” across and attach it to giant spools on either side of the U.S./Canada border. The actual wire that Nik will walk won’t ever touch the water.
- Nik is thrilled to see the media reach from the training sessions. “I’ve learned that China Central TV will reach 1.3 billion viewers, so what started as a dream is now reaching across the ends of the earth.”
- Nik plans to “sleep in” on June 16.
- Nik “talks to God” while walking the wire. He finds it comforting.
- Nik and his family did eke out a little bit of time for fun while in Niagara Falls USA. “We went on Maid of the Mist, played mini-golf, and even went on a helicopter ride,” he said. And, as mentioned on yesterday’s exclusive “Wallenda Walks Blog” video, Nik and his wife Erendira even tried some slot machines at Seneca Niagara Casino & Hotel.
- Finally, Nik said he is very grateful for the excellent service at Seneca Niagara Casino & Hotel. He’ll especially miss the food: he ate at the award-winning Western Door Steakhouse nearly a dozen times during his two-week stay. And, not to worry — Nik will again stay at the hotel in June prior to his big day.
Although the training has now come to a close, we will continue to periodically update this blog with exclusive updates and quotes from Nik leading up to June 15.