Posted: Saturday June 7, 2008 11:02AM; Updated: Saturday June 7, 2008 2:11PM
Sportscasting legend Jim McKay, famed for Munich coverage, dies
NEW YORK (AP) -- Jim McKay, the venerable 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 of natural causes at his farm in Monkton, Md., said son Sean McManus, president of CBS News and Sports. The broadcaster who considered horse racing his favorite sport died only hours before Big Brown attempted to win a Triple Crown at the Belmont Stakes.
He was host of ABC's influential Wide World of Sports for more than 40 years, starting in 1961. The weekend series introduced viewers to all manner of strange, compelling and far-flung sports events. The show provided an international reach long before exotic backdrops became a staple of sports television.
McKay provided the famous voice-over that accompanied the opening in which viewers were reminded of the show's mission ("spanning the globe to bring you the constant variety of sports") and what lay ahead ("the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat").
McKay -- understated, dignified and with a clear eye for detail -- covered 12 Olympics, but none more memorably than the Summer Games in Munich, Germany. He was the anchor when events turned grim with the news that Palestinian terrorists kidnapped 11 Israeli athletes. It was left to McKay to tell Americans when a commando raid to rescue the athletes ended in tragedy.
"They're all gone," McKay said.
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