Jim McKay

James Kenneth McManus (September 24, 1921 – June 7, 2008), better known by his professional name of Jim McKay, was an American television sports journalist.

McKay is best known for hosting ABC's Wide World of Sports (1961–1998). His introduction for that program has passed into American pop culture. He is also known for television coverage of 12 Olympic Games, and is universally respected for his memorable reporting on the Munich massacre at the 1972 Summer Olympics.

McKay covered a wide variety of special events, including horse races such as the Kentucky Derby, golf events such as the British Open, and the Indianapolis 500. McKay's son, Sean McManus, a protégé of Roone Arledge, is the chairman of CBS Sports.[1]

Jim McKay
Jim McKay 1970s
James Kenneth McManus

September 24, 1921
DiedJune 7, 2008 (aged 86)
OccupationSportscaster, sportswriter, actor
Years active1955–2000
Margaret Dempsey (m. 1948)
ChildrenSean and Mary

Early life

McKay was 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.[2] When McKay was 14, he and his family moved to Baltimore, Maryland, where he attended Loyola High School (now Loyola Blakefield). He received a bachelor's degree from Loyola College in Maryland in 1943.[3] During World War II, he served in the United States Navy as the captain of a minesweeper.[4]

In 1946, McKay returned to Baltimore and took a position with The Evening Sun as a police reporter. He was promoted to aviation reporter instead of getting a raise. During this time, he also met Margaret Dempsey, his future wife.[5]


In 1947, McKay gave up his job as a reporter for The Evening Sun to join that same organization's new TV station WMAR-TV. His was the first voice ever heard on television in Baltimore.[5] McKay 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.[1] 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.[3] McKay recovered in time to host the 1960 Summer Olympics from the CBS Television studio in Grand Central Terminal.[6] He had a six-episode stint as host of the game show Make the Connection on NBC in 1955.

He moved on to ABC in 1961, and was the host of ABC's influential Wide World of Sports for 37 years.[3]

McKay was known to motor racing fans as the host of the ABC's annual delayed telecast of the Indianapolis 500. Over the years, McKay worked with race drivers in commentary, including triple Formula One World Champion Jackie Stewart, triple Indy 500 winner Bobby Unser, and Sam Posey.

While covering the Munich massacre at the 1972 Summer Olympics for ABC, McKay took on the job of reporting the events live on his only scheduled day off during the Games, substituting for Chris Schenkel.[4] He was on air for fourteen hours without a break,[4] during a sixteen-hour broadcast.[7] After an unsuccessful rescue attempt of the athletes held hostage, at 3:24 AM German Time, McKay came on the air with this statement:[7][8][9]

When I was a kid my father used to say "Our greatest hopes and our worst fears are seldom realized." Our worst fears have been realized tonight. They have now said there were 11 hostages; two were killed in their rooms this morn-- yesterday morning, nine were killed at the airport tonight. They're all gone.

— McKay, 1972

Although McKay received numerous accolades for his reporting of the Munich hostage crisis (including two Emmy Awards, one for sports and one for news reporting), he stated in a 2003 HBO documentary about his life and career that he was most proud of a telegram he received from Walter Cronkite the day after the massacre praising his work.

McKay also hosted from the studio the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, New York. A happier result came when the U.S. hockey team defeated the Soviet Union in the Miracle on Ice. During the broadcast wrap-up after the game, McKay compared the American upset victory to a group of Canadian college football players defeating the Pittsburgh Steelers (the recent Super Bowl champions at the height of their dynasty).

In 1994, he was the studio host for the FIFA World Cup coverage, the first ever held on American soil. McKay also covered the 2006 FIFA World Cup for ABC. In 2002, ABC "loaned" McKay to NBC to serve as a special correspondent during the Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City. In 2003, HBO released a documentary by McKay called Jim McKay: My World in My Words, tracing his career. This film outlines McKay's personal and professional accomplishments.

Personal life

An avid horse racing enthusiast who raised thoroughbreds, McKay founded Maryland Million Day, a series of twelve races designed to promote Maryland's horse breeding industry. The day-long program has grown to become a major racing event in the state of Maryland, second only to the Preakness Stakes day at Pimlico Race Course. It has spawned more than twenty other similar events at United States race tracks such as the Sunshine Millions.

McKay and his wife purchased a minority share in the Baltimore Orioles in 1993. He participated in the effort to bring the 2012 Summer Olympics to Baltimore and Washington.[5]

McKay died on June 7, 2008, from natural causes at the age of 86. He was survived by his wife Margaret, son Sean, daughter Mary Guba, and three grandchildren. McKay died on the same day as the running of the Belmont Stakes (won by Da'Tara that year).[3]



  1. ^ a b Kent, Milton (May 15, 1998). "In his son, McKay has his biggest thrill". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved January 8, 2019.
  2. ^ Schudel, Matt (June 8, 2008). "Philadelphia native Jim McKay dies at 86". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Philadelphia Media Network. Archived from the original on June 11, 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-08.
  3. ^ a b c d Litsky, Frank; Sandomir, Richard (June 8, 2008). "Jim McKay, Pioneer Sports Broadcaster, Dies at 86". The New York Times. Retrieved January 8, 2019.
  4. ^ a b c Hiestand, Michael (June 8, 2008). "Jim McKay's wide world spanned eras". USA Today. Gannett Company.
  5. ^ a b c Zurawik, David; Keyser, Tom; Fenton, Justin. "Jim McKay dies at 86". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved January 8, 2019.
  6. ^ Sandomir, Richard (July 19, 2009). "Amid Blizzard, Cronkite Helped Make Sports History". The New York Times. The New York Times Company.
  7. ^ a b Hale, Mark. 5 Questions for Jim McKay. AmericanSportscasterOnline.com.
  8. ^ Kelly, Christopher (7 January 2006). "Modern Munich lives with its contradictions". Statesman.com. Archived from the original on 7 June 2011.
  9. ^ Abramson, Alan (5 September 2002). "Black September". Dallas Morning News. Archived from the original on 23 October 2005.
  10. ^ "Longtime ABC announcer McKay dies at age 86". ESPN.com. 7 June 2008. Retrieved January 8, 2019.
  11. ^ "Jim McKay". Bio. 2015. Retrieved 2015-03-26.
  12. ^ TV Guide April 17-23, 1993. 1993. p. 61.
  13. ^ "Paul White Award". Radio Television Digital News Association. Retrieved 2014-05-27.
  14. ^ Hall of Fame Archives & Honorees. Accessed 26-03-2015.
  15. ^ Olympics 2008 Opening Ceremony Intro and Ending **Courtesy of NBC** on YouTube
  16. ^ "NCAA Creates Scholarship in Honor of Jim McKay". TVWeek.com. Archived from the original on 2012-03-23. Retrieved 2008-11-12.

External links

Preceded by
Chris Schenkel
Television voice of the
Indianapolis 500

Succeeded by
Keith Jackson
Preceded by
Keith Jackson
Television voice of the
Indianapolis 500

Succeeded by
Jim Lampley
Preceded by
Chris Schenkel
Bryant Gumbel
American television prime time anchor, Summer Olympics
Succeeded by
Bill Henry
Bryant Gumbel
Bryant Gumbel
Preceded by
Walter Cronkite
Curt Gowdy
American television prime time anchor, Winter Olympics
Succeeded by
Chris Schenkel
Tim McCarver and Paula Zahn
Preceded by
Ernie Johnson Jr.
U.S. World Cup Television Studio Host
Succeeded by
Brent Musburger
Preceded by
ABC's Wide World of Sports host
Succeeded by
Frank Gifford and Becky Dixon
1989 Preakness Stakes

The 1989 Preakness Stakes was the 114th running of the Preakness Stakes thoroughbred horse race. The race took place on May 20, 1989, and was televised in the United States on the ABC television network. Sunday Silence, who was jockeyed by Pat Valenzuela, won the race by a nose over runner-up Easy Goer. Approximate post time was 5:35 p.m. Eastern Time. The race was run over a fast track in a final time of 1:53-4/5. The Maryland Jockey Club reported total attendance of 98,896, this is recorded as second highest on the list of American thoroughbred racing top attended events for North America in 1989.Jim McKay of ABC Sports labeled it "the best race that I have ever witnessed" during the 1995 Preakness telecast. The stretch duel of the race itself was featured on ABC's Wide World of Sports prelude claiming to be the "thrill of victory" for 12 years. It preceded the more memorable line "and the agony of defeat".

ABC Olympic broadcasts

The Olympic Games aired in the United States on the broadcast network ABC during the 1960s to the 1980s. ABC first televised the Winter Olympic Games in 1964, and the Summer Olympic Games in 1968. ABC last televised the Summer Olympics in 1984 and Winter Olympics in 1988.

Cancer Man (Breaking Bad)

"Cancer Man" is the fourth episode of the first season of the American television drama series Breaking Bad. Written by Vince Gilligan and directed by Jim McKay, it aired on AMC in the United States and Canada on February 17, 2008.

Everyday People (film)

Everyday People is a 2004 drama film written and directed by Jim McKay. The storyline revolves around the lives of the employees working at a restaurant in Brooklyn, New York City, which is to be closed down due to economic shortfall.

Jim McKay (director)

Jim McKay, is an American film and television director, producer and writer.

He has directed episodes of The Wire, Treme, Big Love, Criminal Intent and Mr. Robot as well as writing and directing Everyday People and Angel Rodriguez.

Jim McKay Turf Sprint

The Jim McKay Turf Sprint is a Listed American Thoroughbred horse race for three-year-olds and up over a distance of five furlongs on the turf held as part of the undercard for the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes annually during the third week of May at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland. The race offers a purse of $100,000.

The Jim McKay Turf Sprint is the lead off leg of the Mid Atlantic Thoroughbred Championships Sprint Turf Division or MATCh Races. MATCh is a series of five races in five separate thoroughbred divisions run throughout four Mid-Atlantic States including; Pimlico Race Course and Laurel Park Racecourse in Maryland; Delaware Park Racetrack in Delaware; Parx, Philadelphia Park and Presque Isle Downs in Pennsylvania and Monmouth Park in New Jersey.

List of Belmont Stakes broadcasters

The following is a list of national American television networks and announcers that have broadcast Belmont Stakes.

List of Daytona 500 broadcasters

The following is a list of the American television networks and announcers who have broadcast NASCAR's annual Daytona 500 throughout the years. Throughout its history, the Daytona 500 has been aired on all four major networks in the U.S., including ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox. In 1979, CBS covered the race live flag-to-flag for the first time. The unprecedented broadcast was considered risky by network executives, but was a rousing success when a snowstorm blanketed much of the east coast, prompting a huge viewing audience. An exciting and shocking finish capped off a telecast that was considered a ground-breaking moment in the history of NASCAR, and one of the defining moments that helped elevate the sport into the mainstream.

Currently, Fox holds exclusive rights to carry the Daytona 500 in the United States, under the terms of contract extensions that run through the 2024 NASCAR season. As part of the package, Fox also holds the exclusive rights to support events held during Daytona 500 Speedweeks, including the Clash, Daytona 500 pole qualifying, the Duels, the Truck Series race, the Xfinity Series race, and the respective practice sessions. Some of the ancillary events are aired on Fox companion channels FS1 and FS2.

List of Indianapolis 500 broadcasters

The Indianapolis 500 has been broadcast on network television in the United States since 1965. From 1965 to 2018, the event was broadcast by ABC, making it the second-longest-running relationship between an individual sporting event and television network, surpassed only by CBS Sports' relationship with the Masters Tournament (since 1956). In 2014, ABC celebrated fifty years televising the Indianapolis 500, not including 1961 through 1964 when reports and highlights of time trials were aired on ABC's Wide World of Sports.From 1965 to 1970, ABC televised a combination of filmed and/or taped recorded highlights of the race the following weekend on Wide World of Sports. The 1965 and 1966 presentations were in black-and-white, while all subsequent presentations have been in color. From 1971 to 1985, the Indianapolis 500 was shown on a same-day tape delay basis. Races were edited to a two- or three-hour broadcast, and shown in prime time. Starting in 1986, the race has been shown live in "flag-to-flag" coverage. In the Indianapolis market, as well as other parts of Indiana, the live telecast is blacked out and shown tape delayed to encourage live attendance. For 2016, the race was completely sold out, and as such the local blackout was lifted for that year. Since 2007, the race has been aired in high definition.

The most-recent television voice of the Indy 500 was Allen Bestwick, who held the position from 2014 to 2018. From 2006 to 2013, Marty Reid called the race, but was released on September 29, 2013. Past television anchors include Chris Schenkel, Jim McKay, Keith Jackson, Jim Lampley, Paul Page, Bob Jenkins, and Todd Harris. Other longtime fixtures of the broadcast include Jack Arute, Sam Posey, Jackie Stewart, Bobby Unser, and Dr. Jerry Punch.

On August 10, 2011, ABC extended their exclusive contract to carry the Indianapolis 500 through 2018. Starting in 2014, the contract also includes live coverage of the IndyCar Grand Prix on the road course.In 2019, the Indianapolis 500 will move to NBC, as part of a new three-year contract that unifies the IndyCar Series' television rights with NBC Sports (the parent division of IndyCar's current cable partner NBCSN), and replaces the separate package of five races broadcast by ABC. The Indianapolis 500 will be one of eight races televised by NBC as part of the new deal, which will end ABC's 54-year tenure as broadcaster of the event. WTHR will be the local broadcaster of the race under this contract; the existing blackout policy is expected to continue.

List of Kentucky Derby broadcasters

The following is a list of national American television networks and announcers that have broadcast Kentucky Derby.

List of Little League World Series Championship Game broadcasters

Note that this list focuses on the television network(s) and announcers who have broadcast the Little League World Series' World Championship Game.

List of Preakness Stakes broadcasters

The following is a list of national American television networks and announcers that have broadcast Preakness Stakes.

Maryland Million Day

Jim McKay Maryland Million Day is an annual day of stakes races thoroughbred horse races operated by Maryland Million Limited, a company formed in 1985.

The Maryland Million is a one-day stakes program offering purses totaling $1 million, restricted to the nominated progeny of nominated stallions standing in the state. Jim McKay Maryland Million Day ranks as the highest single day in attendance, on-track wagering and simulcast handle for Laurel Park Racecourse in Laurel, Maryland annually. It ranks second in the state to only the Preakness Stakes Day card in all of those same categories and in purse money distributed. It ranks even higher than the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes Day card and the Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash Stakes Day card (Laurel's signature race). It features 11 stakes races.Jim McKay first conceived the idea of a day of races for Maryland-sired runners after attending the first Breeders' Cup in 1984. In September 1985, a nationally attended press conference at Pimlico outlined the details for a 9-race, $1 million program and introduced the 18-member Maryland Million committee. Richard W. Wilcke was named executive director of the Maryland Million. In December 1985, a total of 175 stallions were nominated to the Maryland Million by the first deadline, thus making their foals eligible for the program. Windfields Farm topped all nominators with 16 stallions, led by Northern Dancer, The Minstrel and the deceased Tentam. Nearly 900 horses of racing age were nominated by the May 15, 1986 deadline, at least 88 of them stakes winners or stakes placed. Another 700 yearlings were also nominated.

20,103 turn out at Laurel Park for the first Maryland Million Day on October 20, 1986. Northern Dancer sired two winners - Classic winner Herat and Turf Winner Glow The first winner of a Maryland Million race is Sam-Son Farm's Canadian-bred Smart Halo. Sired by Windfields Farm's stallion Smarten, she captured the Lassie for 2-year-old fillies.

Governor William Donald Schaefer proclaimed the week leading up to the Maryland Million "Thoroughbred Week in Maryland", September 11-18, 1988.

On April 13, 2009, the Maryland legislature passed a joint resolution to officially rename the event "Jim McKay Maryland Million Day".

The world-famous Waterford Crystal Factory in Ireland produced the unique trophies for Maryland Million Day. The permanent Maryland Million Trophy - a special 14" bowl that includes logos of all the first-year sponsors -

is the largest single piece of hand-blown glass made in the company's history.

Our Song (film)

Our Song is a 2000 American coming of age drama film written and directed by Jim McKay. It follows three high school-aged girls.

Outstanding Host or Commentator

The Emmy Award for Outstanding Host or Commentator was awarded from 1968 to 1992. It was awarded to a sports broadcaster who was best at hosting an event from a studio or commentating on an event as it was taking place. In 1981, the category's name was given a slight change to Outstanding Host or Play-by-Play. That change is reflected in this article.

Awards like these are now given away at the Sports Emmy Awards.

The Ex Files

"The Ex Files" is the 22nd episode of the CW television series, Gossip Girl. It was also the fourth episode of the show's second season. The episode was written by Robby Hull and directed by Jim McKay. It originally aired on Monday, September 22, 2008 on the CW.

The Last Call (The Good Wife)

"The Last Call" is the sixteenth episode of the fifth season of the American legal drama television series The Good Wife. It originally aired on CBS in the United States on March 30, 2014. The episode deals with the aftermath of Will Gardner being killed in the previous episode. It also concerns his former client, and killer, Jeffrey Grant and what motivated his behavior.

The episode was written by Robert King and Michelle King, and directed by Jim McKay. It marked the second in a string of guest appearances by Matthew Goode as Finn Polmar, a character who went on to have a flirtatious friendship with Alicia.


Tourfilm (1990) is a documentary-style concert film by American rock band R.E.M. The film chronicles the band's 1989 Green tour of North America. Produced by frontman Michael Stipe and director Jim McKay, the black-and-white film features aspects of avant-garde and experimental filmmaking, including handheld camera shots and stock footage.

Unlike most films of its genre, Tourfilm is noticeably devoid of standard rock movie staples such as backstage footage and interviews with band members. The film was released on LaserDisc and VHS in 1990 and DVD in August 2000.

All the audio for Tourfilm comes from the R.E.M.'s show at Greensboro Coliseum on November 10, 1989, though it also includes brief video footage from four other tour stops:

November 7, 1989 – Roanoke Civic Center, Roanoke, VA

November 8, 1989 – Hampton Coliseum, Hampton, VA

November 11, 1989 – Macon Coliseum, Macon, GA

November 13, 1989 – Fox Theatre, Atlanta, GA

Wide World of Sports (U.S. TV series)

ABC's Wide World of Sports is an American sports anthology television program that aired on the American Broadcasting Company (ABC) from April 29, 1961 to January 3, 1998, primarily on Saturday afternoons. Hosted by Jim McKay, with a succession of co-hosts beginning in 1987, the title continued to be used for general sports programs on the network until 2006. In 2007, Wide World of Sports was named by Time on its list of the 100 best television programs of all-time.

Weekend sports news updates on sister radio network ABC Sports Radio, operated by Cumulus Media Networks, continue to be branded under the similar title ABC's World of Sports. The program also lent its name to an athletic facility at Walt Disney World, the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex – which was originally known as Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex from its opening in 1997 (one year after The Walt Disney Company acquired ABC, and a majority stake in ESPN) – until 2010.

Host or Commentator
(1967–1980, retired)
Host or Play–by–Play
(1980–1992, retired)
Related programs
Related articles
Key figures
World Series
AL Championship
NL Championship
All-Star Game
Related programs
Related articles
Key figures
Belmont Stakes
Breeders' Cup
Kentucky Derby
Preakness Stakes
Related articles
Related programs
Related articles
Indy 500

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.