A for Athlete


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

McKay is best known for hosting ABC's Wide World of Sports His "...thrill of victory, and the agony of defeat" introduction is an American sports slogan. He is also known for television coverage of twelve Olympic Games.

McKay has 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 protege of the late Roone Arledge, ([1]) is president of CBS' Sports and News divisions.

Early life[]

McKay attended Loyola Blakefield high school. He received a bachelor's degree from Loyola College in Maryland in 1943.[1] During World War II he served in the US Navy.


Later he gave up his job as a reporter for the Baltimore Sun newspapers to join that organization's new TV station WMAR-TV in 1947. He 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. Through the 1950s, sports commentary became more and more his primary assignment for CBS. He had a six-episode stint as host of the game show Make the Connection on NBC in 1955.

He moved on to ABC and was the host of ABC's influential Wide World of Sports for more than 40 years.

While covering the Munich Massacre at the 1972 Summer Olympics for ABC, McKay took on the job of reporting the events live. After an unsuccessful rescue attempt of the athletes held hostage, McKay came on the air with this statement:


In 1994, he was the studio host for the FIFA World Cup coverage, the first ever held on American soil. McKay 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 himself called Jim McKay: My World In My Words, tracing his long career and his humanity. This hard-to-find film is a testament to McKay's personal and professional accomplishments.

McKay was the winner of twelve Emmy Awards both in sports and news as well as numerous other awards. He was inducted into the United States Olympic Hall of Fame in 1988, and he received the prestigious George Polk Award.

Maryland horse racing[]

McKay was the founder of 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 U.S. race tracks such as the Sunshine Millions.


  • McKay won numerous awards for journalism, including two Emmys and the George Polk Award for his sports and news coverage of the 1972 Munich Olympics. Overall, McKay won over twelve Emmy Awards.[2][3].
  • In 1988, McKay was inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame.

Memorable calls[]

"Arnold Palmer is the Masters champion for 1960" - McKay's call from CBS Sports in the Masters as Palmer birdied the final two holes to win the event.

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