Dutch speed skating
Patrick Roest and Kjeld Nuis of the Netherlands during training. REUTERS/Phil Noble

The Netherlands has enjoyed remarkable success at winter sports in recent years, despite its relatively small population.

Dutch athletes have already won two gold medals at this year's Winter Olympic Games being held in Pyeongchang and can expect to significantly add to that haul as the tournament progresses. In Sochi 2014, the nation won an incredible 24 medals – just behind traditional powerhouses like Norway, Canada and the United States.

Much of their success can be attributed to dominance at speed skating events, as American commentators helpfully pointed out during the Games opening ceremony held on Thursday (February 8).

Confused Dutch viewers watched as veteran NBC anchor Katie Couric claimed that skating is not just national pastime in the country, but also an "important mode of transport".

She said: "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 and have lots of canals that can freeze in the winter," she said.

"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."

Dutch Twitter users have mocked Couric's wildly inaccurate comments, queuing up to refute her with their own humorous replies.

"And this folks is why Americans are less bright about the rest of the world as they spread fake news," one wrote.

And all those other Dutch stereotypes? Well, they're entirely true.

Other countries pointed out they have their own nation-specific mode of transport.

But thankfully someone was prepared to cut Ms Couric some slack.

Canals in the Netherlands do freeze over on occasion, but not as a regular occurence. Temperatures must fall below freezing for a week before they are considered safe for skating.

Elfstedentocht, or the 11 cities competition, is a 200km (120 miles) race around the nationa's waterways featuring up to 300 contestants. However, years of high temperatures have prevented the legendary race being held since 1997. In 2012, hopes were dashed at the last minute as organisers deemed the ten-day cold spell as being insufficient to guarantee contestant safety.

Amsterdam Canal