Katie Couric was widely criticized for suggesting skating was an "important mode of transportation" in the Netherlands.
Using data from Statistics Netherlands, Business Insider estimated how long Dutch gold-medal speed skater Sven Kramer would take to skate the average distance traveled by a Dutch person in a day.
Kramer would beat the commute time of the average Dutch person.

Katie Couric came under fire over the weekend for comments she made during the Winter Olympics opening ceremony.
When the Netherlands' delegation entered the stadium during the parade of athletes, Couric proposed an interesting hypothesis as to why the Dutch tend to dominate in speed skating:
"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 winters. 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."
This statement was quickly mocked on Twitter, and Couric eventually apologized. But it made us curious about what ice skating as a mode of daily transportation might look like in the Netherlands.
Conveniently, the main Dutch government statistical agency, Statistics Netherlands, published a report in 2016 on transportation and mobility in that country.
Notably, speed skating is not listed as a major method of getting from place to place. According to the report, about 73% of kilometers traveled and 46% of trips in 2014 were in a car as either a passenger or a driver. Bicycle trips are common, with 28% of trips taken on a bike, accounting for 9% of the total distance traveled. About 3% of trips and 5% of total distance were categorized as "other," which could, hypothetically, include ice skating.
Setting aside the fact that, despite Amsterdam's frozen canals, ice skating is likely not a convenient mode of transportation throughout the Netherlands. Hence, we wondered how speed skating would compare to a normal Dutch person's daily travel.
According to Statistics Netherlands, the average Dutch person traveled nearly 32 kilometers (19 miles) per day, taking 63 minutes of travel time. On Sunday, Dutch speed skater Sven Kramer set a new Olympic record in the men's 5,000 meter race with a time of 6:09.76. That suggests an average speed of 48.7 km/h (29 mph).
If Kramer were able to sustain that speed, he would be able to cover the average daily travel distance of 32 kilometers in about 39 minutes, beating the average travel time by a solid 23 minutes.
The biggest part of an average Dutch person's daily travel was their commute to work, according to the Statistics Netherlands report. The average commute in 2014 was 24 km (14.4 miles) and took 34 minutes. At his record-setting speed, Kramer could skate that average commute in just under 30 minutes, narrowly beating the average commuter.
So, if it were feasible, Olympic-caliber speed skating would be a pretty quick way to get around the Netherlands.Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Ken Rogoff on the next financial crisis and the future of bitcoin

More Stories

Business Insider - Finance: Thursday February 22, 2018

Bug at Japanese Government-Approved Zaif Exchange Let Users Get Free Bitcoin

An apparent software bug at the Japanese government-approved bitcoin exchange Zaif allowed users to get cryptocurrency for free.

Business Insider - Finance: Thursday February 22, 2018

Here's what Lloyds' $4.2 billion digitization pledge says about banking's future

The new plan seems like the latest effort by the bank to streamline its operations and face down growing competition

Business Insider - Finance: Thursday February 22, 2018

Snap is sliding after Kylie Jenner tweets she doesn't use the app anymore (SNAP)

Kylie Jenner is one of the biggest influencers on Snapchat.

Business Insider - Finance: Thursday February 22, 2018

Fintech Temenos to Acquire Fidessa Group for $1.96 billion

Swiss Fintech Temenos has agreed to buy UK based Fidessa Group in a deal that currently stands at $1.96 billion. Temenos is a provider of banking software and the company claims that more than 2000 firms around the globe, including 41 of the top 50 banks, use the Temenos software to power daily transactions. Fidessa,

Business Insider - Finance: Thursday February 22, 2018

Sweden-Based Fintech Anyfin Secures 4.8 Million Through Series A Round Led By Accel & Northzone

Anyfin, a Sweden-based fintech startup that enables consumers to refinance their existing loans with a picture, today announces a 4.8 million Series A investment led by Accel and Northzone...

Business Insider - Finance: Thursday February 22, 2018

Bitcoin just fell below $10,000 again

Bitcoin fell below $10,000 for the fourth time of 2018 on Thursday morning.