“Genial”, “calm voice”, “dignified”, “hype averse.”  These are some of the terms used by Frank Litsky and Richard Sandomir of the New York Times (June 8th, 2008, p. 28) and others to describe Jim McKay.

Host of the Olympics, host of the Wild World of Sports for decades, he came into our living rooms to tell us of not the scores and the highlights but of the “human drama of athletic competition.”  The people, their struggles, their stories. 

I don’t care that much about most sports; I cared to listen to Jim McKay.  Whether it was an “up close and personal" feature about some Olympic competitor from a small country who had no hope of earning a medal, or a story about someone that I knew, but not in the way that McKay knew them, I listened.

And it was McKay’s constant search for the good, the ennobling, the uplifting, the inspiring that most made him an inspiration. He viewed the world, and presented a world to us, that looked with sympathy and compassion on the struggles and dilemmas of being human.  This has fallen out of fashion of late, and we are all the losers

They're all gone - Announcing the murder of Israeli athletes by terrorists at Munich in 1972.

The thrill of victory; the agony of defeat . - Tag line from Wild World of Sports (spoken by McKay; author not clear).


Museum of Broadcast Communications


Last modified 10/11/09; posted 6/14/08; original content © 2009, 2008 John P. Nordin