NBC journalist Katie Couric is drawing criticism for comments she made about the Netherlands while anchoring the Winter Olympics opening ceremony.
The TV personality claimed that the Dutch use skating as a means of transportation, because cold weather leaves their canals frozen.
“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.
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She claimed that is why the country’s speed skaters are so successful in races.
But, as several Twitter users pointed out, Netherlands’ climate is relatively mild. And the canals often don’t freeze over in the winter, or at least not all season.
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And the warmer weather actually means that biking is one of the most common ways of getting around.
Couric’s statement prompted sarcastic remarks from Twitter users.
One user jokingly claimed that Dutch use the canals in the summer to swim to grocery stores. Another posted a picture of speed skaters saying it was “rush hour” in Netherlands.
Couric’s flub even drew the attention of the Netherlands’ U.S. embassy, who used the attention the country was receiving for a tourism plug.
“We’d love to show you all the innovative ways the Dutch get around,” the embassy tweeted at Couric. “Of course, we can also visit our famous skating rinks. Let’s break the ice!”
The TV personality responded to the viral comment in stride, apologizing for her mistake.
“I was trying to salute your historical passion for the sport but it didn’t come out that way,” she wrote. “I’d [love] to visit again and celebrate your success!”
While the light-hearted Twitter spat occurred, Dutch athletes were busy showing off their skills. The country currently has 10 medals — four gold, four silver and two bronze — in the 2018 Winter Olympic Games.
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