NIAGARA FALLS, Ont. - Nik Wallenda was driving across the Rainbow Bridge Wednesday when he looked over and saw the result of months of planning and hard work.
The five-centimetre-wide wire on which he'll walk across Niagara Falls Friday night was installed and Wallenda was seeing it in place for the first time.
"When I looked at it crossing the bridge, I was totally relaxed," Wallenda, 33, of Sarasota, Fla., said Wednesday afternoon during a press conference at the Table Rock building.
"For me, the hardest thing is not getting out there now. The nerves go away the closer we get."
Wallenda, a seventh-generation aerialist, will walk 550 metres across the Niagara Gorge starting shortly after 10 p.m. Friday. The performance will be broadcast live on ABC, capping off a three-hour broadcast on the American network. It will also be shown on CTV in Canada.
"I'm ready. I'm excited," he said. "When you see the satellite trucks on the road and the wire up, there's no question now, we're ready to go. This is happening. It's almost game time."
Wallenda made the first of two public appearances at Table Rock, where he signed dozens of autographs and posed for pictures with fans in front of a makeshift store selling Wallenda-themed souvenirs such as T-shirts and hats.
The scene was somewhat chaotic as members of the media got their first glimpses of Wallenda since he spent nearly two weeks in Niagara Falls, N.Y., practicing in May.
Curious onlookers in town to see the falls asked questions like: "Who is that guy? When is he doing it? Is he crazy?"
Wallenda said his practice is now complete and most of his time before Friday night's walk will be spent talking to the media and in production meetings with ABC.
Niagara Parks Commission chairwoman Janice Thomson was at Wednesday's event and said the public agency is ready.
"I feel very confident the Niagara Parks is ready from all perspectives," she said. "There's great excitement. This is bringing all of these international eyes to us and it's up to us to garner the benefit of promoting Niagara."