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Photos And Video: Nik Wallenda's Daring, Record-Setting Chicago Highwire Act

By Chuck Sudo in News on Nov 3, 2014 3:30PM

As tightrope walks go, the one Nik Wallenda completed Sunday night 50 stories above downtown Chicago seemed anticlimactic, but Wallenda added to his list of records with the dual walks.

Wallenda set two world records Sunday for Highest Incline Tightrope Walk and Highest Blindfolded Tightrope Walk. Wallenda accomplished his walk from Marina City’s west tower to the Leo Burnett Building at a 19-degree incline in 6 minutes, 52 seconds. To get a sense of the degree of difficulty, a 15-degree incline is the maximum a treadmill in a health club goes. Now try running treadmill at that incline for seven minutes. Wallenda also had to deal with winds gusting up to 25 mph while on the high wire, significantly lower than the 56 mph gusts that pushed waves from Lake Michigan onto Lake Shore Drive on Halloween. Prior to his walk, Wallenda was estimating it would take him around 12 minutes to cross the span between Marina City and the Burnett building.

Once Wallenda returned to Marina City, he walked the tightrope between the two corncob-shaped structures in one minute, 17 seconds, blindfolded. “This is what I was made for,” Wallenda said as he made his first walk, marveling at the beauty of the downtown skyline and the roar of the estimated 65,000 bystanders below in the process.

In addition to the people who went downtown to view Wallenda's walk, millions more viewed the walk on the Discovery Channel and online. Wallenda will follow up his Chicago walk by re-creating his great-grandfather's greatest tightrope walk, a 1,000-foot walk 600 feet over Tallulah Gorge, Georgia.

"He did two headstands on the wire," Wallenda told NBC's "Today" show. "I've never done a headstand on the wire in public, and I'm training for that. I want to re-create that walk."