If you’re old, like me, likely you recall how ABC Summer Olympics anchor – the late, great Jim McKay – provided the world with the most up-to-date information on the carnage that was the Munich massacre. McKay, who already had established himself as the Wide World of Sports staple, was a trustworthy, educated and informed reporter. In a sense, he was the Walter Cronkite of sports journalism.
So when Palestinian terrorists stormed the athletes’ village on that ill-fated July day in 1972, the world held its breath as McKay delivered the news – that 11 Israeli athletes and coaches had been murdered. Murdered – at the Olympics. The Games stopped for a day, to mark the passing of these poor victims. McKay, who would go on to cover 12 Olympiads, broadcast the news for 14 consecutive hours.
I was six years old at the time, still learning what the Olympics meant. My parents had a black and white, 19-inch TV. We didn’t have cable because we couldn’t afford it. Instead, we gathered around the set and watched anything and everything ABC would broadcast. It was an event I look back on as one that defined my passion for the Olympics – the same passion my wife Lisa and I have passed along to our three daughters. We watch rowing, archery and equestrian in the summer and curling in the winter.
But something about this year’s Olympics Games doesn’t seem right. It has nothing to do with London and everything to do with Bob Costas and NBC’s, dare I say, less than stellar performance in the first few days of their prime-time coverage of the Games. In a nutshell, they have dropped the ball, taken a hop on the landing and died down the stretch.