Extreme Sports Closeup -- Nik Wallenda

Nik Wallenda, who walked across Niagara Falls in 2012, recently became the first person to walk across the Little Colorado River Gorge on the Navajo Nation near the Grand Canyon on a tight rope.

Wallenda, who began tight-rope walking when he was 2 years old and trains five to six hours each day, traversed a 2-inch cable that was 1,400 feet across and 1,500 feet above the twisting Little Colorado River on June 23.

The historic walk, which took 22 minutes, 54 seconds, and was done without a tether or safety net, was shown live on Discovery Channel and viewed in 217 countries.

“I believe God has given me a gift and a talent that can be used to bring glory to His name,” Wallenda told the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association last year. “I don’t go up there unprepared or untrained and say it’s up to God whether I make it or not. Not in any way.”

Wallenda, is a 7th generation tight-rope walker from the famous Flying Wallenda family, which spans more than 200 years. He equated his art with the Christian life.

“I think that in our walk with Christ, there’s so many distractions in this world, trying to pull us left and right, trying to distract you,” he told the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. “It’s about focusing on the other side—staying focused on our Lord.”

Wallenda, 34, lives in Sarasota, Fla. He trained in 52 mph winds and rain during Tropical Storm Andrea in early June, and he also used wind machines that created gusts up to 55 mph.

His purpose, though, doesn’t come from what some would consider “death-defying” feats.

“That’s really where I get my peace,” he said in his new book, Balance. “I have confidence that if something were to happen to me, I know where I’m going.”

By Brett Honeycutt

Brett Honeycutt is the managing editor at Sports Spectrum magazine.