Saturday, June 07, 2008

RIP, Jim McKay

Jim McKay is dead at age 87.

I have a soft spot for James K. McManus not only because he was a classy announcer for ABC, but also because he graduated from both my high school and my college (see also: Tom Clancy).

Of course, most people know him for the intro to ABC's Wide World of Sports.

But he rose to a tragic occasion in 1972, telling the world what happened to the Israeli Olympic team members after a commando raid on their Palestinian captors. As he wrote for ESPN in 2002:

A wire service reported that night that all the hostages had been saved. But German TV was wrong. Saying the words, "They're all gone" was the hardest thing I had to do in television. I always wondered if I had done it sensibly enough, so I replied to Dorothy Berger (David [an Israeli team member]'s mother) and she wrote me another time since then. I remembered on that night in Munich what my father had said to me once: "Our greatest hopes and our worst fears are seldom realized until they're all gone." It was the quickest way I could summarize what happened.

Read the whole thing; it's quite insightful.

And here's another piece of McKay work I liked: his call of the final sprint to the checkered flag of the 1982 Indianapolis 500 between Gordon Johncock and Rick Mears, the closest finish in the race's history at the time.

God rest his soul.


Dymphna (4HisChurch) said...

Thanks for the story,Cyg. RIP Jim McKay.

Silvergirl said...

The McManus family resided in Monkton, and I saw his wife at one of our church parties.

Such a great distinctive voice. Rip, Jim.