BALTIMORE (WJZ) —Late-broadcasting legend Jim McKay will be honored on Friday with an exhibit at the Hays-Heighe House at Harford Community College.
The exhibit will open on Friday. During the opening of the exhibit, McKay will be presented with the Robert and Anne Heighe Award for Excellence in Equestrian Journalism. The award will be accepted by his daughter, Mary Guba, his son Sean McManus who is also the chairman of CBS Sports, and his grandson James Fontelieu.
The award is for McKay’s years of coverage of horse racing.
The exhibit will be called “The Wider World of Jim McKay.” It will chronicle his life from his Philadelphia childhood through his early journalism career to his national and international work. McKay came to Maryland at the beginning of his high school career.his coverage of racing began in Baltimore in November of 1947 with live reporting from Pimlico Race Course. It was the first live television broadcast in Baltimore.
“He started his career at Pimlico calling the race of the day,” Mike Pons said.
“Horse racing in general. That was his great love,” said exhibit curator Maryanna Skowronski. “He and his wife had their own racing stable, McManus stable. So we have an entire room donated to that. And the Maryland Million. He really was the founder of that.”
The Maryland Million was second only to Preakness in popularity and prize money.
“The Maryland Million event that Jim created has been copied nationwide in 27 different racing states,” Pons said.
The broadcaster would go onto cover the Kentucky Derby from 1977 to 2000. He’d also host he iconic show ABC’s “Wide World of Sports.”
McKay also served as the anchor host for 12 Olympic Games. The most notable Olympic Games he covered was the 1972 Munich Games. These games would be memorable for the Israeli athletes and coaches who were taken hostage and then murdered by terrorists from the group Black September.
“Sadly most people know him most for the 1972 Munich games and the Israeli hostage crisis,” Skowronski said. “His family was very generous. They’ve actually donated the blazer he wore on air during the 16 hours that he was covering that hostage situation.”
The exhibit will be open until January 12. Admission is free.