Jim Mckay, American television sports journalist, Died at 86

Dead, James Kenneth McManus on June 7, 2008 at the age of 86, better known by his professional name of Jim McKay, he was an American television sports journalist.

Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and raised in the Overbrook section of the city in an Irish American Roman Catholic family.

He attended Our Lady of Lourdes Grade School and Saint Joseph’s Preparatory School. When McKay was 14, he and his family moved to Baltimore, Maryland, where he attended Loyola Blakefield high school.

He received a bachelor’s degree from Loyola College in Maryland in 1943. In 1947, McKay gave up his job as a reporter for the Baltimore Sun newspapers to join that same organization’s new TV station WMAR-TV.

His was the first voice ever heard on television in Baltimore, and he remained with the station until joining CBS in New York in 1950 as host of a variety show, called The Real McKay, which necessitated the changing of his on-air surname.

Through the 1950s, sports commentary became more and more his primary assignment for CBS.

In 1956-57, McKay teamed with Chris Schenkel to call CBS telecasts of New York Giants football.

He was originally tabbed to be the lead broadcaster of the network’s coverage of the 1960 Winter Olympics, but had to be replaced by Walter Cronkite after suffering a mental breakdown.

McKay recovered in time to host the 1960 Summer Olympics from the CBS Television studio in Grand Central Terminal.

The former host of ABC’s Wide World of Sports and frequent Olympic commentator, McKay is one of the most famous sportscasters in the history of television.

A graduate of Loyola College, he started out as a newspaper reporter for the Baltimore Evening Sun in 1946.

The next year McKay became a television personality on Baltimore’s first television station WMAR-TV, handling news and sports. He also worked hard behind the scenes as a writer, producer and director.

In addition to his duties on the popular Wide World of Sports, McKay also served as an Olympic commentator.

He proved himself to be an outstanding journalist and broadcaster during the tragic 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, Germany.

After days of covering the games, McKay was called upon to report on one of the saddest events in Olympic history.

At the Olympic Village, where the athletes were staying during the games, a group of Israeli athletes had been taken hostage by Palestinian terrorists who had already killed two athletes in their initial siege.

The episode ended with the killing of 11 Israeli athletes, coaches and trainers.

When that word reached Mr. McKay, he said he thought that he would be the person who told the family of David Berger, an American-born weight lifter whose family lived in Shaker Heights, Ohio, “if their son was alive or dead.”

Before ABC revolutionized Olympic broadcasting and satellites transmitted sports events instantly, CBS had footage shipped from the Rome Games daily to New York’s Idlewild Airport (now John F. Kennedy International), where a remote broadcast unit put the footage on the air while Mr. McKay narrated from a studio erected at Grand Central Terminal.