NBC's Katie Couric apologizes for Olympics snafu that offended Dutch citizens

NBC's Katie Couric has apologized for saying Dutch success in Olympic speed skating is because skating is an “important mode of transport” in their country.

Couric made the comment on Friday night during the opening ceremonies for the winter games, but it gained attention as the Olympics unfolded and she apologized on Twitter on Monday evening.

“My apologies for being on thin ice for my comments re. skating on canals,” Couric wrote. “I was trying to salute your historical passion for the sport but it didn’t come out that way!”

Couric was widely mocked on social media for her explanation on why the Dutch excel at speed skating. The Netherlands Embassy even tweeted at the former “Today” star, asking her to “come visit.”

“We'd love to show you all the innovative ways the Dutch get around,” the embassy wrote.

“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 said during the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang Olympics. “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.”

A video of her remarks, tweeted by a nonverified user with fewer than 500 followers now has over 1.3 million views, and many criticized her theory.

“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!” 

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 wondered why the network didn't tap Megyn Kelly to travel to South Korea for the games.

Couric hosted three previous opening ceremonies for NBC, most recently in 2004.

Brian Flood covers the media for Fox News. Follow him on Twitter at @briansflood.