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ABC salutes 40 years of "Wide World of Sports"

McKay's Thrill of Victory


"Spanning the globe to bring you the constant variety of sport … the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat … the human drama of athletic competition …"

Jim McKay has been saying that at the beginning of ABC's "Wide World of Sports" since dirt was clean.

He'll be on hand as host when ABC (who else?) salutes the longest-running sports anthology on the air. "Wide World of Sports" is 40 years old.

The two-hour show starting at 4 p.m. on Sunday, April 29, will be filled with the unforgettable moments and remarkable personalities that have had people talking on Monday mornings for four decades.

But it's one of McKay's own finest moments that many will be remembering. During the Munich Olympics, it was McKay who threw aside the guise of sportscaster and became a serious journalist covering the story of his lifetime. For days, the nation was glued to the TV as McKay anchored ABC's exclusive live reports from Germany. In that awful time, McKay rose to the heights established by Murrow and Cronkite and proved that he knew much more than broad-jump stats and how to pronounce the names of the Hungarian gymnasts.

His peers weren't surprised. They'd already give him an Emmy in 1968, the first awarded to a sports commentator. Since then, he has won 12 others. But there's more. In 1988, McKay won an Emmy as a writer — for the openings of ABC's coverage of the 1987 Indianapolis 500, the British Open and the Kentucky Derby. He is the only broadcaster to win Emmys for sports and news broadcasting and for writing.

Imagine that. A successful television-network career for somebody who can think and write. They're as scarce today as buggy whips, and that's reason enough to watch McKay every time you get a

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