Page last updated at 16:20 GMT, Saturday, 7 June 2008 17:20 UK

US TV sports host Jim McKay dies

Jim McKay in 1980
McKay was famous for describing "the thrill of victory, the agony of defeat"

Award-winning US TV sports presenter Jim McKay, who was the host of ABC's Wide World of Sports for nearly four decades, has died at the age of 86.

He informed millions of Americans about the killing of Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics in 1972. Nine hostages died in a botched rescue attempt.

And he introduced viewers to numerous odd and obscure events through Wide World of Sports, broadcast at weekends.

His son, Sean McManus, is the president of news and sport at rival channel CBS.

"He had a remarkable career and a remarkable life," Mr McManus said.

"Hardly a day goes by when someone doesn't come up to me and say how much they admired my father."

'They're all gone'

McKay was covering the Games in Munich, at which Palestinian militants stormed the Israeli team's headquarters.

During a 16-hour stint on-air, he conveyed the news that an operation by German police to end the stand-off had gone disastrously wrong, with a gunfight leading to the deaths of the nine athletes.

Munich Olympics hostage-taker, 1972
McKay broke the news of the Israeli athletes' deaths in Munich in 1972
"Tonight our worst fears have been realised," he said. "They're all gone."

Two of his 13 US television Emmy awards were for that coverage, as well as George Polk Memorial Award of 1972.

West Germany's government also honoured him for his commentary.

ABC Sports president George Bodenheimer paid tribute to McKay, saying there were "no superlatives that can adequately honour" him.

"He meant so much to so many people. He was a founding father of sports television, one of the most respected commentators in the history of broadcasting and journalism," he added.


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