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Original Issue

The Real McKay

The voice most closely associated with the Olympics is that of
80-year-old Jim McKay, who joins NBC as a guest essayist during
the Salt Lake City Games. Here are some things you may not know
about him:

--He was a painfully shy child. When he was a 12-year-old route
boy for Collier's and Women's Home Companion magazines, his
younger sister, Mary Lou, had to knock on doors to collect
payment because he was too timid.

--He was a U.S. Navy officer in World War II and was discharged a
lieutenant after spending four years on a minesweeper, escorting
convoys from Trinidad to Brazil.

--Born James McManus, he was a reporter for The Sun in Baltimore
in 1947 when a colleague asked him to host a variety show on a
new medium. McKay's face became the first seen on Baltimore
television. Three years later he changed his name at the request
of a producer who wanted him to host a program called The Real

--His wife of 53 years, Margaret (above, with Jim), was a fellow
Sun reporter. Before their first date, at a game between the
Baltimore Colts and the San Francisco 49ers, she correctly
predicted it would end in a 28-28 tie. He and Margaret, who's his
manager, are minority owners of the Baltimore Orioles.

--During the 1968 Games in Grenoble, McKay's first researcher,
Dick Ebersol (now NBC Sports chairman), crouched behind McKay's
desk and handed him index cards with information while McKay was
on air.

--He has won 13 Emmy Awards, but he says his most prized honor is
a cable he got after his marathon coverage of the Munich Olympics
massacre. It read, "Today you honored yourself, your network and
your industry." It was signed by Walter Cronkite.

--McKay is believed to be the first person to hit a golf ball over
the Great Wall of China. "Right into history's most unplayable
lie," he says.

--Unlike most broadcasters, he regularly writes his own copy. His
most memorable phrase? "The thrill of victory and the agony of

--Brian Cazeneuve



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