Katie Couric’s half-baked claims about the Netherlands athletes had the Dutch doubled over, and led to an ice-themed Twitter exchange.
The NBC presenter claimed during the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang Olympics that the success of speed skaters from Holland came because they use frozen canals as a means of transportation.
“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,” she said.
The people of the Netherlands, whose relatively mild climate leads to cycling as their most characteristic form of transportation, soon began mocking the explanation for their sporting prowess.
“Just like most Latvians use a bobsleigh to get to work & Austrian kids ski jump to school,” the Dutch Olympic committee’s Thomas van Scheik said on Twitter.
Others posted pictures of speed skaters, joking that they were shots of traffic in Amsterdam and saying that doing so would be difficult in the traditional Dutch footwear, clogs.
The Netherlands’ Embassy in the U.S. had a friendlier take, telling Couric “please come visit the Netherlands. We’d love to show you all the innovative ways the Dutch get around.”
Couric responded by congratulating the country on its medal count, which includes a complete podium sweep of the women’s 3,000 meter speed skating competition, and admitting her mistake.
“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!” she said.
The Dutch ambassador to the U.S. Henne Schuwer repeated the offer of a visit to Amsterdam, with the Embassy building on Couric’s worldplay by telling her “we’re letting it slide.”