Winter Olympics diary: Have you heard the one about the skating Dutchmen?

Dutch speed skating

Dutch speed skating

NBC's Katie Couric has apologized for suggesting Olympians from the Netherlands excel at ice skating because the Dutch skate to work every day - as the nation's U.S. embassy took her to task over the ridiculous claim. "'Why are they so good?' you may be asking yourself", Couric said during the Olympic Opening Ceremony as the Dutch athletes came in.

The Netherlands embassy to the United States invited Couric to visit the country to see all of the innovative ways the Dutch get around.

In Couric's defense, the Dutch sure did use a lot of pictures of them skating on canals to claim they never skate on canals, didn't they?

Off course, our Dutch neighbours do skate on the canals continuously, in the same way as we, Belgians, are blue, live in mushrooms and our prime minister wears red pants.

"Skating is an important mode of transportation in a city like Amsterdam which sits at sea level".

"For as long as those canals have existed the Dutch have skated on them from place to place, to race each other, and also to have fun". Viewers - Dutch and otherwise - let Couric have it, responding hilariously to a tweet by Jos Duijvestein, whose Twitter bio describes him as "Dutch!" NBC opening ceremony coverage.

The Dutch have been taking great delight in teasing American broadcaster Katie Couric for sharing her theory of why the Dutch are so good at speed skating - although she is not the first to suggest that the Dutch skate to work in winter. Japan and South Korea haven't fully reconciled over the occupation and saying that the Koreans look up to Japan as an "example" is far worse than saying the Dutch skate to work.

As with past Olympics, NBC has been ridiculed for its comments on other countries.

Even the Netherlands Embassy in the US joined in dispelling the statement, eliciting the response from Couric.

It is unclear where Ilich got his information from, although on the website Ulrike Grafberger talks about a family member visiting her grandparents by skate several decades ago.

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