Nik Wallenda Chicago high wire walk in final preparations

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The countdown is on for Sunday's much anticipated high-wire walk over the Chicago River as Nik Wallenda is preparing for his latest stunt.

"I live by three words - never give up. And hope what I do inspires people," Wallenda said during a press conference Friday.

And that is what motivates Wallenda as he prepares for Sunday's death-defying high-wire act across the Chicago River.

"I've done a lot of training on incline wires but never this distance, never this height, and never done an incline walk in public," he said.

At a 15-degree incline, Wallenda expects to cross from Marina Tower West to the Leo Burnett Building in about 12-15 minutes. And then, blindfolded, he plans to walk between the East and West towers in about three minutes.

And he'll do it without a net in Chicago weather.

"If it gets bad enough, I go down to the safety of that wire," he said. "I grab onto that wire and wrap around and I'll wait for help. I've got amazing rescue teams."

Friday, winds rocked ABC7's camera as we looked at the wires, and that's part of it.

"That's really what attracted me to this city in the first place as the title 'The Windy City,'" he said.

He expects distractions, even though Marina Towers warned residents no BBQs or loud noises.

"There are all these restrictions about making noise and such, and I appreciate that, but we're in a city, I expect to hear sirens, and I expect to hear cars, and I expect to hear crowds screaming," he said.

Spectators have two viewing areas. Streets nearby will be closed. If you go, Wallenda wants to hear you.

"The more cheering the better, that's what, I get goose bumps thinking about it, hearing the roar of the crowd," he said. "That's what makes it fun. That's what makes it all worthwhile."

This has been a 200-year tradition for the Wallenda family. Wallenda has three children, ages 11, 13 and 16 - all who have said they have no interest in continuing the family tradition. But more than 100 family members are in town to watch the excitement Sunday. null
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