Niagra Falls. (Photo credit: BRIGITTE DUSSEAU/AFP/GettyImages)
Niagara Falls, NY (WGRZ) - It's crunch time.
"It's coming down to the wire, no pun intended," said Nik Wallenda at a news conference Thursday.
As Wallenda practiced high up on the platform with about 24 hours to go, this stunt became a reality with no turning back. The wire is strung, the lights are set, and the only thing left is for the thousands of visitors to arrive to watch the daredevil walk across the Mighty Niagara on a tightrope.
"The first step's the hardest for sure. But once I'm on that wire, I'm committed and I'm going to make it across to the other side."
Three-hundred members of the media around the world including the UK, France, and Korea, are descending to the falls to watch history in the making. A crew from the Korean Broadcasting System is doing a 10 minute report that will be shown to 2 million people about how the stunt will affect the region's economy.
"As many news reports expect, this will bring a lot of tourists in like back in the day and boost the economy like in the past," said KBS reporter Yurie Kim.
"The estimates I've seen are that 1 billion people will see my image within 24 hours of me getting off of that cable. That's a lot of people. And that's a lot of attention to this region, Niagara Falls," Wallenda said.
But for now the immediate focus is on the tightrope. What will go through the daredevil's mind on his 1800 foot walk?
"Hopefully it will be very peaceful and relaxing. Often I'm very relaxed when I'm walking on a cable like that. I'm sure there will be some tears involved because this is a dream,"
Wallenda says his mother makes his special wire walking shoes with a suede leather bottom.
"That suede leather bottom is fairly thin and helps me feel the wire but not only that when it gets wet it actually becomes sticky or grippy or grips the wire so that I won't slip off the wire."
And as for that 10 lb. harness he's contractually required to wear, he has no intentions of taking it off.
"If I say that I'll do something and agree to it then I'll do something and agree to it. The only way that it would come off would be if it was a security or safety issue."
Wallenda doesn't have a specific routine. He says the only thing he needs to calm his nerves is a good night's rest.
"Try to sleep. Just like a child the evening before Christmas, it's hard to sleep. There's a lot of excitement."