Add Jim McKay to the list of the recently departed:
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.
But he was suddenly placed in the role of a newscaster in 1972 when Israeli athletes were kidnapped in Munich. As viewers followed the gripping story, McKay told how the hostages were killed in a commando raid.
McKay was the father of Sean McManus, president of CBS News and Sports.
I was too young to remember the 1972 Olympics, but I’ve seen McKay’s coverage in documentaries… and wow! McKay covered those horrible events with a sensitivity, humanity and grace that barely exists in the sports world these days. Oh, who am I kidding – it was a sensitivity, humanity and grace that barely exists in the world at all these days.
On a happier note, I’ll always have the voice of Jim McKay saying “… and the agony of defeat” permanently seared into my head!
RIP, Jim and God Bless!