"Jim McKay was the gentleman sportscaster," says the Bryant Park Project's Bill Wolff, of the legendary sports commentator who died over the weekend at the age of 86. "He made whatever event he covered a big event. It was a big deal because he was doing it."
"He was to sports what Walter Cronkite was to news," says Wolff. In fact, in 1972, McKay was the anchorman who reported the kidnapping and killing of 11 Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics. "He was the man who communicated to the world," says Wolff. "It was a landmark in broadcasting."
In his weekly weekend sports roundup, Wolff also discussed the last place finish of Big Brown, the horse favored to win the Belmont Stakes, which would have made him the first horse in three decades to win the Triple Crown.
There were reports, Wolff said, that the horse was made nervous by photographers and crowds at Belmont. But the one thing that many people just don't realize, he said, is simply that "it's hard to win the Triple Crown." It's hard for humans — and horses — to perform at their peak three for three consecutives events.
While it surprised many that Big Brown came in last, Wolff said that it was clear the jockey didn't want to push the horse when it became obvious that he wasn't going to win. "The jockey wasn't going to risk the horse's health to come in fifth."