Jim McKay … Legendary Sports Announcer of Wide World of Sports and Olympics Dead at the Age of 86


Jim McKay, best known to generations as the host of ABC’s Wide World of Jim_McKaySports, has died at the age of 86. According to reports KcCay died of natural causes. Today, part of my childhood died as Jim McKay was the man that brought me sports in my youth. Long before ESPN and 24 hour sports networks there was only one show in town … ABC’s Wide World of Sports. Who did not watch “the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat”. From horse racing events like the Kentucky Derby, barrel jumping, Acapulco cliff diving and the Indy 500, Jim McKay was there.

If there was a sporting event … Jim McKay was there. On a personal note, one year back in the 80’s a group of friends went to the Belmont where we happened to stand some 10 feet away from McKay doing the post race analysis at track side.

However, it was the covering of one sporting event that made Jim McKay a household name for millions. Jim McKay went from sports announcer to news anchor during the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, Germany when Israeli athletes were taken hostage by Palestinian terrorists. An event that changed sports coverage forever.

Mr. McKay was thrust into the role of news anchor early on Sept. 5, 1972, when Israeli athletes were taken hostage at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, Germany. About to take a swim in the Sheraton’s pool when the call came, Mr. McKay “threw on clothes over his swim trunks and took his seat in the studio, where he would remain for most of the next sixteen hours,” the 1994 book “The House That Roone Book” recalled.
Mr. McKay memorably reported the news that eleven Israeli hostages had been killed. “They’re all gone,” he said.

To Jim McKay … the man who brought us sports without all the melodrama of today … thank you, God bless and rest in peace.

NEW YORK —  Jim McKay, the veteran and eloquent sportscaster thrust into the role of telling Americans about the tragedy at the 1972 Munich Olympics, has died. He was 86.

McKay died Saturday, said ABC, the network with which he was long affiliated. The cause of death was not immediately given.

McKay was host of ABC’s “Wide World of Sports” for decades. The influential weekend series introduced viewers to all manners of strange, compelling and far-flung sports events.

Jim McKay, Olympics and ABC announcer, dies at age 86

McKay is best known for hosting “ABC’s Wide World of Sports” and 12 Olympic Games.

McKay won numerous awards for journalism, including the George Polk Memorial Award and two Emmys — one for his sports coverage, the other for his news reporting — for his work at the 1972 Munich Olympics, which were tragically affected by the Black September terrorists’ attack on the Israeli athletes in the Olympic Village.

Sportscaster Jim McKay dies at 86

Posted June 7, 2008 by
Deceased, Media, Obituary, Sports | 2 comments

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  • Comments

    2 Responses to “Jim McKay … Legendary Sports Announcer of Wide World of Sports and Olympics Dead at the Age of 86”

    1. StarLink on June 7th, 2008 11:18 am

      This is sad. I remember him from when I was a kid…

    2. Dan on June 7th, 2008 12:16 pm

      Before 24/7 sports coverage and the cable networks, there was Jim McKay and The Wide World of Sports — with that unforgettable opening theme music and film footage. And those of us of a certain age will never forget McKay at the 1972 Olympics.

      A life well-lived, and a job well done. McKay’s now “spanning the globe” in spirit . . .

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