Jim McKay dead at 86


Veteran TV sports journalist Jim McKay, best known for many years of hosting “ABC’s Wide World of Sports,” died Saturday in Maryland. He was 86.

"Jim was a regular guy who wrote and spoke like a poet. He loved sports. To him, sports defined life – full of drama, adventure, accomplishment and disappointment. The thrill of victory for some, the agony of defeat for others," Disney CEO Bob Iger said in a statement.

McKay broadcast 12 Olympic Games for ABC and won two Emmys for his coverage of the 1972 Munich Olympics – one for his sports coverage and the other for his news coverage of the terrorists who took a group of Israeli athletes/coaches hostage. All 11 athletes/coaches and five of the eight terrorists died. Over the years, McKay won 11 other Emmys and numerous other awards, including a Polk and a Peabody.

"He was a founding father of sports television, one of the most respected commentators in the history of broadcasting and journalism. For more than 60 years he brought sports into the homes of Americans on Wide World of Sports, the Olympics and many other programs that captured the essence of the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat,” said ESPN and ABC Sports president George Bodenheimer.

McKay’s real name was James McManus. His son, Sean McManus, is President of CBS News and Sports.

The White House issued this statement from President George W. Bush:

"Laura and I were saddened to learn of the passing of Jim McKay. For a generation of Americans, Jim was more than the much-honored host of Wide World of Sports and ABC’s Olympic coverage. He was a talented and eloquent newsman and storyteller whose special gift was his ability to make the viewers at home genuinely care about more than just who won or lost.

Jim was at his best during what had to be his most difficult assignment, hosting with skill and sensitivity ABC’s blanket coverage of the 1972 Munich Olympics hostage crisis.

Off camera he was a compassionate and generous person and devoted family man.

We are also grateful for Jim’s service to his country as a Naval officer aboard a minesweeper during World War II.

Our thoughts and prayers are with Jim’s wife, Margaret, his children Sean and Mary, and all of his family and friends."