Veteran broadcaster Jim McKay, the iconic host of 12 Olympic Games and the host of ABC’s Wide World of Sports for more than 40 years, has died of natural causes at his home in Maryland at the age of 86.
McKay is perhaps most remembered and respected for his coverage of the “Munich Massacre” during the 1972 Summer Olympics when 11 Israeli athletes were kidnapped and ultimately killed by Palestinian terrorists.
“They’re all gone,” his haunting summation of the tragic events, remains one of McKay’s—and television’s—most poignant broadcasting moments.
The news comes on the same day that three-year-old colt Big Brown failed in his attempt to become the 12th horse in thoroughbred history to win the Triple Crown during Saturday's running of the 140th Belmont Stakes. McKay considered horse racing his favorite sport and broadcast numerous Triple Crown races during his career.
He was host of ABC Sports' signature Wide World of Sports series for more than 40 years, starting in 1961. Indeed, McKay was the voice of “the thrill of victory” and “the agony of defeat."
“He had a remarkable career and a remarkable life,” Sean McManus, McKay’s son and the president of CBS News and Sports, told the Associated Press. “Hardly a day goes by when someone doesn’t come up to me and say how much they admired my father.”
McKay earned a total of 13 Emmy Awards, and was the first sportscaster to be honored with the award.
“There are no superlatives that can adequately honor Jim McKay,” George Bodenheimer, president of ESPN and ABC Sports, said in a statement. “He meant so much to so many people. He was a founding father of sports television, one of the most respected commentators in the history of broadcasting and journalism.”