Katie Couric was selected to co-host NBC’s coverage of the Olympics opening ceremony from South Korea.
NBC's Katie Couric was slammed across social media for saying Dutch successes in Olympic speed skating were because skating is an “important mode of transport” in their country.
“It’s probably not a news flash to tell you the Dutch are really, really good at speed skating… ‘Why are they so good?’ you may be asking yourself,” Couric mused during Friday’s opening ceremony. “Because skating is an important mode of transportation in a city like Amsterdam.”
She said Amsterdam “has lots of canals that can freeze in winter. So, for as long as the canals have existed, the Dutch have skated on them to get from place to place, to race each other and also to have fun.”
You just can't make this up.— Jos Duijvestein ???????? (@JosDuijvestein) February 10, 2018
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! pic.twitter.com/7YC5deTl2w
Couric made the comment on Friday but it has gained attention as the Olympics have unfolded. One video tweeted by a non-verified user with less than 400 followers now has over 1.2 million views.
“You just can't make this up,” one user wrote. “And this folks is why Americans are less bright about the rest of the world as they spread fake news!”
Rush Hour in the Netherlands. pic.twitter.com/RRpDBV9pDX— DirkJanMoedt (@moedtdj) February 11, 2018
CNN deputy media editor An Phung wrote, “everyone on Twitter wants Katie Couric to shut up,” while another user wrote, “We haven’t had frozen canals in decades!”
“The Dutch do NOT skate to work,” a different viewer wrote. “Skating on clogs is too hard, even for us.”
A variety of viewers took to Twitter with jokes about Couric’s comment. Some people posted photos of people ice skating and sarcastically captioned them as Amsterdam citizens commuting home.
One viewer wrote that “a few of us skate to work the 5 days we have ice (on average)” but the other 360 days per year they “stay home, or sometimes use bikes or cars or trains to get to work.”
the funniest moment of the opening ceremony was when katie couric said that the dutch are good at skating because it's "an important mode of transportation in the city of amsterdam... [when the] canals freeze in the winter" i'm still laughing— Dez (✿❛ ֊ ❛„) (@chansonettes) February 11, 2018
Oh my god. Crying laughing. You have to watch this explanation from Katie Couric as to why the Dutch are great at speed skating. ???? https://t.co/qXcsuPUzCM— Caroline Hirons (@CarolineHirons) February 12, 2018
Katie Couric might want to visit Amsterdam sometime. https://t.co/8VXozaws9C— Journal Sentinel (@journalsentinel) February 12, 2018
Another "journalist" who makes their own fairy tail. @katiecouric believes, the Dutch are always on skates. Well a decent "journalist" do some background checks. @nbc— Monkey (@Marco_902) February 11, 2018
Katie Couric with NBC's Winter Olympic coverage suggested the Dutch are good at speed skating because its an important mode of transportation when canals freeze over. Wonder if she knows kangaroos don't hop down city streets in Australia. Seriously poor.— Craig Gabriel (@crosscourt1) February 12, 2018
Actually, @katiecouric the canals in Amsterdam rarely freeze. Besides, I'm sure Dutch skaters have practice rinks, don't you think? Take some time away from North Korean propaganda and #FakeNews and report a few facts, why don't you? pic.twitter.com/XhePtoCn2B— Toney Brooks Media (@ToneyBrooks) February 12, 2018
Katie Couric telling viewers the Dutch ice skate to work ????????????????????— Sarah Thurlow (@sjthurlow) February 12, 2018
NBC announced in mid-January it would bring back Couric, its former employee, to co-host the opening ceremony alongside Mike Tirico. The decision shocked industry insiders who were already perplexed as to why the Peacock Network decided Megyn Kelly wouldn’t travel to South Korea for the Pyeongchang Games.
Couric hosted three previous opening ceremonies for NBC, most recently in 2004. She isn’t the only NBC personality to ruffle feathers during Friday’s opening ceremony.
NBC reportedly fired one of its Olympic analysts who praised Japan’s role in South Korea’s economic development, disregarding Tokyo’s rule with an iron first from 1940 to 1945, which is still a sensitive subject to many in Seoul. MarketWatch, citing The Korea Times, reported that an NBC official said it is no longer possible for Joshua Cooper Ramo to work with the network.
Ramo made the remark during NBC's prime-time telecast of Friday's opening ceremony in pointing out the presence of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
NBC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Brian Flood covers the media for Fox News. Follow him on Twitter at @briansflood.