Katie Couric Apologizes to the Netherlands for Ignorant Skating Comment

Katie Couric’s praise of Netherlands speedskaters left her on thin ice with Dutch viewers of the Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony last week.

During the Parade of Nations, Couric, who returned to host the event for the first time since 2004, told NBC viewers that skating was an “important mode of transportation” in the country when canals freeze over.

“It is probably not a news flash to tell you the Dutch are really, really good at speedskating,” the 61-year-old said. “All but five of the 110 medals they’ve won have been on the speedskating oval."

“Now, ‘Why are they so good?’ you may be asking yourselves. Because skating is an important mode of transportation in a city like Amsterdam which sits at sea level. As you all know, it has lots of canals that can freeze in the winters. 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,” Couric added.

But after her comments sparked hilarity and confusion, Couric tweeted on Monday night to clear up her controversial explanation.

“Congrats #Netherlands on your [medal] 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 [love] to visit again & celebrate your success!” she wrote.

Couric’s reply came after several Twitter users, including the Netherlands Embassy, denounced the veteran journalist’s claim that people used skating as a regular form of transportation.

“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,” The embassy tweeted. “Of course, we can also visit our famous skating rinks. Let’s break the ice!”

Plenty of meme-style replies to Couric also ensued following the ill-informed history lesson.

While the canals may only freeze over enough for Dutch residents to break out their skates once every few years, Couric was correct in praising the Netherlands for its dominance in speedskating.

The country has already earned ten medals, all in speedskating events.