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Nik Wallenda completes tightrope stunt 200 feet over Sarasota

Famed tightrope walker Nik Wallenda walks across a wire 200 feet above U.S. 41 Tuesday morning near Bayfront Park in downtown Sarasota.
Published Feb. 4, 2013

SARASOTA — Famed high-wire walker Nik Wallenda safely completed a 500-foot tightrope walk 200 feet over U.S. 41 Tuesday without a safety harness.

With thousands of people looking on, some of them in boats in the nearby harbor, Wallenda completed the walk without incident.

While skies were mostly sunny, Wallenda said conditions were windier than he expected.

Wallenda was able to complete the stunt because of a special decision by the Sarasota City Commission to allow him to do so without a tether. He wore one for the first time last summer when he walked across Niagara Falls — but only because the television network that was paying for the performance insisted on it.

Wallenda has said the tether is unnecessary.

"This is my family's history,'' Wallenda told Tampa Bay Times columnist John Romano for a column published last week. "This is the way we work. This is the way I was raised.''

Part of U.S. 41 was closed during the walk.

Wallenda started from a temporary tower in Bayfront Park near the Unconditional Surrender statues next to U.S. 41. His completed his walk on the roof of the 15-story Marina Tower condominium building.

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