Saturday, June 07, 2008

TV: Jim McKay, R.I.P.

News today of the passing of Wide World of Sports iconic broadcaster Jim McKay. The obit at TV Squad mentions McKay's exemplary work during the Munich Massacre at the 1972 Olympics. It basically only mentions one McKay quote, the key phrase from the WWOS intro, "The thrill of victory, the agony of defeat."

Yet the picture and words that stick in my mind of when McKay's name is mentioned is McKay, on the verge of tears, staring into the camera and intoning, "They're all gone." All the athletes who had been maneuvered to the airport by the terrorists had been killed in a failed rescue mission by the German special forces.

McKay was the kind of journalist who you trusted. That the most trusted man in America, Walter Cronkite, praised his work during the crisis, was enough to cement a reputation that had been there amongst sports fans already. His closest allegory today is Bob Costas. That's how good he was.

There's an American Television series interview with McKay available at YouTube. Check the video out. It's almost 29 minutes long, and the quote I quote occurs about 27 minutes in. It's just an interview and doesn't actually use clips from the actual broadcast. But even in the re-telling, that one simple statement sends shivers up your spine.

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