Jim McKay

Active - 1973 - 2004  |   Born - Sep 24, 1921   |   Died - Jun 7, 2008   |   Genres - Sports & Recreation, History

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Biography by Nathan Southern

An iconic sportscaster whose legacy is deeply intertwined with that of the terrorist kidnappings at the 1972 Munich Olympics (he was one of the very first to bring both the news of the initial assaults/murders and the news of the ill-fated liberation attempt to the viewing public), Jim McKay pioneered sports broadcasting via his longstanding assignment headlining ABC's Wide World of Sports. A native of Philadelphia, McKay served in the Navy during World War II and began his occupational life as a newspaper reporter, then made the short leap to television when The Baltimore Sun paper expanded from print news into broadcasting. Their nascent station had McKay host a daily three-hour sports commentary program, The Sports Parade, which prompted CBS to recruit him for a similar New York-based program, seen on their affiliates.

As indicated, however, it was through ABC Sports that McKay made his most enduring mark; the network signed him as an announcer in the early '60s, on a lifetime contract, and it is estimated that (in the days of pre-satellite, pre-digital broadcasting) he journeyed over four million miles around the globe to find interesting and compelling sporting events to cover for the said network. McKay also emceed 12 Olympics (including the aforementioned 1972 games), and was granted special permission by ABC to relinquish his contract for coverage of the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Games with NBC -- his last Olympic assignment.

McKay died of natural causes, at age 86, in June 2008.

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