JAMES KENNETH MCMANUS (September 24, 1921 – June 7, 2008), better
known by his professional name of JIM MCKAY, was an American
television sports journalist .
McKay is best known for hosting ABC 's Wide World of Sports
(1961–1998). His introduction for that program has passed into
American pop culture . He is also known for television coverage of 12
Olympic Games , and is universally respected for his memorable
reporting on the
Munich massacre at the
1972 Summer Olympics
1972 Summer Olympics .
McKay covered a wide variety of special events, including horse races
such as the
Kentucky Derby , golf events such as the British Open ,
Indianapolis 500 . McKay's son, Sean McManus , a protégé of
Roone Arledge , is president of
CBS Sports and News divisions.
* 1 Biography
* 1.1 Early life
* 1.2 Television
* 1.2.1 ABC Sports
* 1.3 Maryland horse racing
* 1.4 Death
* 2 Honors
* 3 References
* 4 External links
McKay was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania , and raised in the
Overbrook section of the city in an
Irish American Roman Catholic
family. He attended Our Lady of Lourdes Grade School and Saint
Joseph\'s Preparatory School . When McKay was 14, he and his family
moved to Baltimore, Maryland , where he attended Loyola Blakefield
high school. He received a bachelor's degree from Loyola College in
Maryland in 1943. During
World War II
World War II , he served in the United
States Navy as the captain of a minesweeper .
In 1947, McKay gave up his job as a reporter for the
newspapers to join that same organization's new TV station
His was the first voice ever heard on television in Baltimore, and he
remained with the station until joining CBS in New York in 1950 as
host of a variety show, called The Real McKay, which necessitated the
changing of his on-air surname. Through the 1950s, sports commentary
became more and more his primary assignment for CBS. In 1956 -57 ,
McKay teamed with
Chris Schenkel to call CBS telecasts of New York
Giants football. He was originally tabbed to be the lead broadcaster
of the network\'s coverage of the
1960 Winter Olympics
1960 Winter Olympics , but had to be
Walter Cronkite after suffering a mental breakdown . McKay
recovered in time to host the
1960 Summer Olympics from the CBS
Television studio in
Grand Central Terminal
Grand Central Terminal . He had a six-episode
stint as host of the game show
Make the Connection on
NBC in 1955.
He moved on to ABC and was the host of ABC's influential Wide World
of Sports for 37 years.
McKay was known to motor racing fans as the host of the ABC's annual
delayed telecast of the Indianapolis 500. At times McKay worked with
race drivers in commentary including triple
Formula One World Champion
Jackie Stewart , triple Indy 500 winner
Bobby Unser , and
Sam Posey .
While covering the
Munich massacre at the
1972 Summer Olympics
1972 Summer Olympics for
ABC, McKay took on the job of reporting the events live on his only
scheduled day off during the Games, substituting for
Chris Schenkel .
He was on air for fourteen hours without a break, during a
sixteen-hour broadcast. After an unsuccessful rescue attempt of the
athletes held hostage, at 3:24 AM German Time, McKay came on the air
with this statement:
When I was a kid my father used to say "Our greatest hopes and our
worst fears are seldom realized." Our worst fears have been realized
tonight. They have now said there were 11 hostages; two were killed in
their rooms this morn-- yesterday morning, nine were killed at the
airport tonight. They're all gone. — McKay, 1972
Although McKay received numerous accolades for his reporting of the
Munich hostage crisis (including two
Emmy Awards , one for sports and
one for news reporting), he stated in a 2003
HBO documentary about his
life and career that he was most proud of a telegram he received from
Walter Cronkite the day after the massacre praising his work.
McKay also hosted from the studio the
1980 Winter Olympics in Lake
Placid, New York . A happier result came when the U.S. hockey team
defeated the Soviet Union in the
Miracle on Ice
Miracle on Ice . During the broadcast
wrap-up after the game, McKay compared the American upset victory to a
group of Canadian college football players defeating the Pittsburgh
Steelers (the recent Super Bowl champions at the height of their
In 1994, he was the studio host for the FIFA World Cup coverage, the
first ever held on American soil. McKay also covered the 2006 FIFA
World Cup for ABC. In 2002, ABC "loaned" McKay to
NBC to serve as a
special correspondent during the Winter
Olympic Games in Salt Lake
City . In 2003,
HBO released a documentary by McKay called Jim McKay:
My World in My Words, tracing his career. This film outlines McKay's
personal and professional accomplishments.
MARYLAND HORSE RACING
McKay founded Maryland Million Day , a series of twelve races
designed to promote Maryland's horse breeding industry. The day-long
program has grown to become a major racing event in the state of
Maryland, second only to the
Preakness Stakes day at Pimlico Race
Course . It has spawned more than twenty other similar events at
United States race tracks such as the
Sunshine Millions .
McKay died on June 7, 2008, from natural causes at the age of 86. He
was survived by his wife Margaret, son Sean, daughter Mary Guba, and
three grandchildren. McKay, a horse racing enthusiast who also covered
Triple Crown races for ABC Sports, died on the same day as the running
Belmont Stakes (won by Da\'Tara that year).
* McKay won numerous awards, including the
George Polk Award for his
sports and news coverage of the 1972 Munich Olympics .
* McKay won thirteen
Emmy Awards in his lifetime.
American Sportscasters Association Hall of Fame, inducted
along with veteran boxing and horse racing announcer
Clem McCarthy .
U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame .
TV Guide named McKay the best sportscaster of the 1970s.
* 2001: Paul White Award,
Radio Television Digital News Association
* McKay was inducted into the
Television Hall of Fame during its
* He was selected as the inaugural Dick Schaap Award for Outstanding
Journalism recipient in 2002.
NBC broadcast of the
2008 Summer Olympics opening ceremony
2008 Summer Olympics opening ceremony was
dedicated to McKay, per a message at the closing of the broadcast.
National Collegiate Athletic Association
National Collegiate Athletic Association has dedicated a
scholarship for college athletes for postgraduate study in McKay's
* The Armory in
New York City
New York City dedicated a High School track meet in
his name on December 12, 2008.
* ^ Kelly, Jacques (October 16, 2009). "Margaret Dempsey McManus
dies at 89". The
* ^ Schudel, Matt (June 8, 2008). "