Winter Olympics: Katie Couric Ridiculed for Comments About the Netherlands Dominating Speed Skating

During NBC's Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony on Friday, Katie Couric stunned viewers with her bizarre explanation for the Netherlands' dominance in speedskating.

The 61-year-old journalist and former NBC anchor called speedskating an "important mode of transportation" for the Dutch when canals freeze over.

"It is probably not a news flash to tell you the Dutch are really, really good at speedskating," the veteran journalist 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."

Viewers at home thought the reasoning was preposterous. In fact, residents and research proves the canals do not freeze over that frequently and if they do, the Dutch have cars, bikes and feet they can use to walk.

"You just can't make this up. NBC opening ceremony coverage. Katie Couric talks about why The Netherlands is so good at speed skating as The Netherlands enters the stadium," Dutch photographer Jos Duijvestein, who now lives in Canada, wrote on Twitter. "And this folks is why Americans are less bright about the rest of the world as they spread fake news!"

Other Twitter users joked about Couric's comments. "In summer us Dutch swim to work and grocery store via the canals. You'll hear that next summer Olympics," Duijvestein added in one of his subsequent tweets.

Couric did get one thing right in her comments: the Dutch are great at speedskating. The Dutch have already won five medals, all in speedskating events.

As with past Olympics, NBC has been ridiculed for its comments on other countries. The network apologized for commentator Joshua Cooper Ramo, who brought up Japan's occupation of the Korean penninsula from 1910 to 1945.


"We understand the Korean people were insulted by these comments," NBC said. "We're very gratified that [the PyeongChang Olympics] has accepted that apology."

Photo credit: Charles Sykes/Bravo