Sports commentator Norman May dies at 88

SPORTS commentator Norman May, who called some of the most iconic sporting moments in Australian history, has died at the age of 88.

Mr May was most famous for his call on the 4x100m relay at the 1980 Moscow Olympics.

The words "Gold gold gold" became synonymous with Mr May, although he never actually said those words.

He first began working in radio and television in the 1950s before officially retiring from the ABC in 1984.

In a 2007 interview with Bob Sitsky, he recalled how he moved from lifesaving patrols on Bondi Beach to commentating.

"In January 1957 Dick Healy, the ABC's NSW Sports Supervisor, asked what I was doing on Saturday fortnight," Mr May said.

"I said I was free, and he said come along - we are doing a surf carnival show from Dee Why. It was to be the first telecast of a surf carnival in Australia, and Dick gave me the job of being the expert commentator.

"We got to Dee Why Beach on 9 February 1957 - that's when I did my first TV job for the ABC. We had a monitor on top of the boatshed casualty room, and we sat down behind the monitor.

"The sun was behind us and it completely washed out the picture on the monitor. So I borrowed a blanket from the casualty room and Dick and I sat there huddled together for 4 hours under the blanket doing our commentary.

"So that was my first TV job for the ABC. Charlie Moses saw the telecast, and he said 'that fellow made a bloody good commentator'."

Mr May received a Medal of the Order of Australia one year before in 1983 and a slew of other awards recognising his contribution to sports.

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