Every so often, something happens that serves as a reminder that YouTube doesn’t have every cool or important video out there. We had a one of those moments happen a couple of weeks ago.
As I’m sure you’ve heard by now, legendary sportscaster Jim McKay passed away, after living an amazing, full life. It was sad to see him go, just because for me and many of my age, he was one of the most important voices in sports medai, and THE voice of the Olympics. Just the thought of McKay coming into my home through the television and sharing the action of the day’s Olympiad (metaphorically, of course) makes me very sad that we are now subjected to NBC’s horrendous, spirit-sucking coverage.
Of course, McKay’s finest hour as a sportscaster was during the tragic events of the ’72 Summer Games in Munich, when Palestinian terrorists killed 11 Isreali athletes. In an age without internet or cable, McKay transformed from TV Olympic host to a makeshift Walter Kronkite, keeping America abreast of the story as it unfolded with an earnestness and diligence of a trusted, veteran national news anchor. It was without question, the finest moment ever in sports media, and it would never be duplicated today (can you even imagine ESPN’s Chris Berman or Stuart Scott in the same situation?) When McKay broke the horrible news, finishing up the report with the somber words “They’re all gone,” it ripped the heart out of the nation. I’ve seen the clip a few times over the years, and it punches me in the gut, and I was six months old when it actually happened. The fact that I wasn’t around long enough to remember the situation, yet McKay’s words still resonate that strongly, is the best testament I can make to the man.
Which brings me back to the first sentence in this post. For some reason, none of McKay’s broadcast can be found on YouTube, save for a 90 second chunk in this 90 minute documentary about the Munich games that occurs at about the 80th minute. Believe me, I scoured the site looking for it when I heard the news, and nothing could be found, with the exception of that documentary. If there is any piece of sports history that deserves to be represented on YouTube, it is this one, as it represents one of the three times in the 20th century that sport and real history became intertwined enough to push sport into something of actual worldwide relevance (Jesse Owens winning the gold in front of Hitler and the allegorically-laden Miracle on Ice being the other two). Yet it’s not on there. And that’s a shame, because I’d love to share it with you. Seriously, if you’ve never seen the McKay footage before, you owe it to yourself to find it somewhere and watch it.
Sadly, for the time being, somewhere other than YouTube.