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

The Wrap

"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."

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