Spring 2012

[News]

Daredevil Alum Brings Slackline to Super Bowl

Andy Lewis Andy Lewis shares the stage with Madonna as part of the Super Bowl halftime show. (Photo courtesy of Doug Mills/The New York Times/Redux)

YOU MAY HAVE CAUGHT adrenaline-junkie Andy Lewis (‘08, Recreation Administration) showing off his slackline skills and sharing the stage with pop-icon Madonna at the Super Bowl XLVI halftime show.

“I’m a breakout star, apparently,” jokes Lewis, who caught national attention performing aerial acrobatics from a suspended two-inch nylon strap. Since then, he has received lots of media attention, including a prominent photo in The New York Times, an ABC interview and more. But personal fame was never part of the equation when Lewis signed on to perform. Rather, he hoped to bring a whole new level of public attention to his true passion, slacklining.

In slacklining, athletes balance themselves on a flat strap of nylon webbing, as little as one inch wide. Whether 3,000 feet over a canyon floor (highlining) or three feet off the ground performing acrobatic stunts (tricklining) slackliners are constantly defying gravity, testing their personal limits and abilities, and having a lot of fun.

For two months, Lewis worked 60-to-80 hour weeks perfecting his 20-second routine. “I got to be my own choreographer,” he says. “I just wanted it to look cool and smooth.”

And he knew he accomplished that goal the second he landed his backflip dismount on stage at the halftime show.

“I had about 20 houses cheering for me when it happened,” Lewis says of the friends and family that tuned in to support him.