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Blondin’s first tightrope-walk across Niagara Falls | History Today
Follow the Irish Examiner. Watch: Tightrope walker stuns crowds at Seafest in Cork. Now I can walk in stilettos quite steadily; I can walk and talk at the same time. And in a world that so frequently reneges on its promises, the promise of gravity is constant.
But for almost as long as there has been gravity, there has been the temptation to try, just for a moment, to get the better of it. At 35 he became the first person to cross the gorge below Niagara Falls, on a rope nearly a third of a mile long. He crossed the gorge 17 times, occasionally clad in pink tights. Blondin had flair. He crossed blindfolded, he crossed on stilts and he crossed with his manager on his back.
Once he carried a stove, stopped at the midpoint and cooked himself an omelette. There is such an intricate braggadocio in that. It would have been so much simpler to have just fried an egg. The only woman who ever tried to cross the gorge at Niagara Falls was Maria Spelterini, an Italian, who was only 23 when she first walked it — in , about 20 years before the authorities imposed a ban on all attempts. She had the grace of a dancer, it was said, and she was famous for her theatrical costumes and — journalistic values being constant — her bosom.
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