In case anyone is wondering, ice-skating is not a common mode of transportation in the Netherlands. If only someone had told Katie Couric that before this year’s Olympic Games. The anchor is now in hot water after casually saying during her Olympics Opening Ceremony commentary that athletes from the Netherlands might have so much speed skating prowess because of this uncommon (and nonexistent) mode of transportation.
“[The Netherlands] has lots of canals that can freeze in the winter,” Couric said on air during Friday’s broadcast. “So for as long as those canals have existed, the Dutch have skated on them to get from place to place, to race each other and also to have fun.”
Um, no. This is definitely not a thing. And Twitter was very quick to point that out to Couric after her gaffe.
the funniest moment of the opening ceremony was when katie couric said that the dutch are good at skating because it's "an important mode of transportation in the city of amsterdam… [when the] canals freeze in the winter" i'm still laughing
— Dez (✿❛ ֊ ❛„) // moved! (@meschansons) February 11, 2018
Katie Couric with NBC's Winter Olympic coverage suggested the Dutch are good at speed skating because its an important mode of transportation when canals freeze over. Wonder if she knows kangaroos don't hop down city streets in Australia. Seriously poor.
— Craig Gabriel (@crosscourt1) February 12, 2018
I lived in the 🇳🇱 for 9 yrs worked on Prinsengracht about 5. Never once did I see the canals in Amsterdam freeze. In fact, I only saw canals in the countryside freeze once in all the years I lived there! And I lived in the country (Uithoorn) Niet alle Amerikanen zijn zo stom!
— ProudPatriot #KAG, Pro2A, #LoveLEOs (@Charlif761) February 13, 2018
At first, it seemed like Couric would just be content to let this controversy blow over. But then, the Netherlands Embassy of the United States got involved, tweeting to invite her to the country to see for herself how public transportation works there (hint: There are no ice skates involved).
Hi @katiecouric, please come visit the Netherlands. We'd love to show you all the innovative ways the Dutch get around 🚴🚘⚡🚊🚄🛥️, & are building the future of transportation. Of course, we can also visit our famous skating rinks. Let’s break the ice! https://t.co/6COFp0jlxh
— Netherlands Embassy 🇺🇸 (@NLintheUSA) February 12, 2018
Being called out by the embassy finally prompted Couric to apologize.
“Congrats #Netherlands on your [medal] count so far!” she wrote. “My apologies for being on thin ice for my comments re: skating on canals. I was trying to salute your historical passion for the sport but it didn’t come out that way! I’d [love] to visit again & celebrate your success!”
Congrats #Netherlands on your 🥇count so far! My apologies for being on thin ice for my comments re: skating on canals. I was trying to salute your historical passion for the sport but it didn’t come out that way! I’d ❤️ to visit again & celebrate your success! 🇳🇱 https://t.co/NvYi7LwB2V
— Katie Couric (@katiecouric) February 12, 2018
Welp, that’s embarrassing. But hopefully, Couric learned an important lesson in fact-checking.