Well, this is uncomfortable. NBC Olympics correspondent Katie Couric has issued an apology after making an awkward comment about Dutch ice skating during the PyeongChang Winter Games‘ opening ceremony on Friday, Feb. 9. While introducing the Netherlands to the Parade of Nations with co-host Mike Tirico, Katie said, “Next is the Netherlands — it’s probably not a newsflash to tell you the Dutch are really, really good at speed skating.”
She continued, “All but five of the 110 medals they’ve won have been on the speed skating 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 winter, 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.”
Many Dutch citizens then took to social media to criticize the 61-year-old TV star’s comments. “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. And this folks is why Americans are less bright about the rest of the world as they spread fake news!” Twitter user @JosDuijvestein wrote. Then @GertvanDijk quipped, “Dear @KatieCouric, the Dutch do NOT skate to work. Skating on clogs is too hard, even for us.”
Katie’s statement even reached the team behind the Netherlands Embassy Twitter account, which tweeted, “Hi, @KatieCouric, please come visit the Netherlands. We’d love to show you all the innovative ways the Dutch get around ??⚡???️and [how we] are building the future of transportation. Of course, we can also visit our famous skating rinks. Let’s break the ice!”
Following the flurry of backlash regarding her Opening Ceremony comments, Katie herself took to Twitter to apologize for her gaffe. “Congrats, #Netherlands on your [medal] count so far! My apologies for being on thin ice for my comments regarding 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 and celebrate your success!” she wrote.
Thankfully, Katie seems to be forgiven after issuing a heartfelt apology. Twitter user @JosDuijvestein, whose tweet about Katie’s message originally went viral, returned to the social media outlet to write, “Comment from @KatieCouric after my tweet went viral and had awesome comments. Nice response. Now let’s celebrate the coming together of all nations under the umbrella of sport, and however you get around, skate, camel, horse, kangaroo, chased by polar bears or lions, do it safely.”
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