My Wide World of Sports
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Broadcaster McKay tells his story in a voice grown familiar from 30 years of ABC’s Wide World of Sports and 11 Olympic Games: unfailingly charming, friendly, noncombative. McKay grew up in Philadelphia and began his career as a police reporter for the Baltimore Evening Sun, doing the odd radio or television spot. His 11-year stint with CBS in New York covering sports events—from roller derbies to horse races—wasn—t altogether happy; indeed, the period culminated with a —good old-fashioned nervous breakdown— in 1960. While covering the 1961 Masters Tournament, he got a call from ABC’s Roone Arledge asking if he would be interested in hosting —a summer replacement show— covering —a number of sports not normally seen on TV.— The show became the Wide World of Sports, still going strong. McKay decries the fact that the show would eventually become dominated by boxing—a sport he detests—and by the likes of daredevil Evel Knievel. But it is for his hosting of 11 summer and winter Olympic Games that McKay is best remembered, especially for his extraordinary coverage of the 1972 games at Munich when the Black September terrorists murdered 11 Israeli athletes. —They—re all gone,— he intoned wearily, creating one of the saddest, most memorable moments in broadcast history. McKay devotes space to each of the Olympics he reported, from the 1960 Rome Olympics to the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary. There are few surprises among the —heroes— he chooses to remember: Peggy Fleming, Bob Beamon, Bill Toomey, Franz Klammer, Bruce Jenner, Nadia Comaneci, Eric Heiden, Bill Johnson, etc. And his —McKay Rating— for the Best Golf Pro (Jack Nicklaus), Best Jockey (Bill Shoemaker), Best Race Car Driver (Jackie Stewart), and so on, won—t raise many arguments. But it’s nice to read his thoughts on them. A pleasant walk down memory lane with a genuinely decent man. (16 pages photos, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1st, 1998
ISBN: 0-525-94418-4
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Dutton
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 1998