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Seventeen-year-old Sean McManus was ecstatic to go with his father, Jim McKay, who had been covering Olympics for a decade, to Munich, West Germany. McKay was the gymnastics and track reporter and would have one day off in the middle to sightsee with his son. McKay took a swim and a sauna in the morning, but ABC sports chief Roone Arledge had left him a message when he returned to his room. "Arledge told Dad, 'I don't know exactly what is happening, but I want you on the air with it,' " said McManus. "It" was the taking hostage of Israeli athletes by Palestinian terrorists. Arledge passed over the main sports anchor, Chris Schenkel, and even newsman Peter Jennings, who was on the scene. "Dad had been a police reporter at the Baltimore Sun and then a news anchor in Baltimore before he came to network sports, so Roone used his gut and chose him," said McManus. McKay was on the air for 14 hours straight, but, unfortunately, he made broadcast history just after 3 a.m. Munich time, when he said, "When I was a kid my father used to say, `Our greatest hopes and our worst fears are seldom realized. Our worst fears have been realized tonight. They have now said there were 11 hostages; two were killed in their rooms yesterday morning, nine were killed at the airport tonight. They're all gone."
May. 23, 2012