tv 60 Minutes CBS March 8, 2020 7:00pm-7:58pm PDT
captioning funded by cbs and ford. we go further, so you can. >> is america prepared for the coronavirus epidemic? >> have you been around anyone who has tested positive for the coronavirus? >> "60 minutes" brings you inside the biocontainment unit at johns hopkins hospital. >> you're ready to go into the room. >> where medical staff are equipping themselves to treat infected patients. the unit is equipped with rooms where exhaust fans create negative air pressure so pathogens like the coronavirus stay contained. do we have pan temperaturic now? -- pandemic now? >> i think this disease meets
the definition of pandemic. >> putin has all of our political class, including the media, exactly where he wants us. >> dr. fiona hill was president trump's drop adviser on russia. in her first interview since testifying in the impeachment, we asked her about her main expertise, russian president vladimir putin. do you think that he studied president trump and did find some vulnerabilities and honed in on them with our president? >> he does this with absolutely everybody that he interacts with. >> no one is more crazed about speedskating than the dutch. >> go, go, go, go go,! >> no competition inspires more frenzy than the elfstedentocht. it's a mouthful to say, the elfstedentocht. it's an epic test of endurance that has been a sacred part of dutch life since 1909. but wait. there are no mountains in d. where are thacing now, and why did they move?
that's our story tonigh. >> i'm lesley stahl. >> i'm bill whitaker. >> i'm anderson cooper. >> i'm sharyn alfonsi. >> i'm scott pelley. those stories, tonight, on "60 minutes." ( ticking ) >> cbs money watch sponsored by capital wasn't. what's in your wallet? >> good evening. investors are on edge as coronavirus infectionses worldwide surge past 100,000. italy locks down financial hub milan, and millions more people to contain it. the ebay banned sales of masks an sanitizer to stop price gouging. i'm errol barnett, cbs news.
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and here we have another burst pipe in denmark. if you look close... jamie, are there any interesting photos from your trip? ouch, okay. huh, boring, boring, you don't need to see that. oh, here we go. can you believe my client steig had never heard of a home and auto bundle or that renters could bundle? wait, you're a lawyer? only licensed in stockholm. what is happening? jamie: anyway, game show, kumite, cinderella story. you know karate? no, alan, i practice muay thai,
completely different skillset. stimulant laxatives forcefully stimulate i switched to miralax for my constipation. the rves in your collas th tr body to unblock your system naturally. and it doesn't cause bloating, cramping, gas, or sudden urgency. miralax. look for the pink cap. >> pelley: now, dr. jon lapook on assignment for "60 minutes." >> lapook: three months ago, most americans had never heard of a coronavirus, let alone the one causing the respiratory disease covid-19. what began as an outbreak in china has become a worldwide
epidemic, with more than 100,000 cases in more than 90 countries. there is no vaccine or specific drug to treat it. instead, there is hygiene and quarantine. here in the united states, there's been panic buying of sanitizers and panic selling of stocks. hundreds have been diagnosed with the virus, yet a lack of tests has made it impossible to determine just how many people are infected. at least 20 are dead. at the johns hopkins hospital in baltimore, maryland, doctors have been preparing for weeks... >> you want an a.b.g. with i- cal. >> lapook: ...for what they believe will be a surge of sick patients infected with the coronavirus. what is this all? >> dr. lisa maragakis: this is our incident command center. >> lapook: when we visited the hospital this past week, infectious disease doctor lisa maragakis was overseeing a team of 40. doctors, nurses, engineers and epidemiologists. i see telemedicine and information technology over there. >> maragakis: yes.
>> lapook: infection control incident command and-- >> marnd all these things up on bulletin boards and people behind computers. there's a map in the incident response center that reports in showed 95,000 were infected. today, four days later, that number climbed past 109,000. when you saw it spreading more rapidly than you'd like in china, what did that mean for your efforts here? >> maragakis: it absolutely kicked us into a different gear, because that human to human transmission piece is the key to understanding that this is likely to spread. and so-- the level of concern increased. and we started in earnest taking our pandemic respiratory virus plans and pulling them out. >> lapook: what kind of plans are those? >> maragakis: where would we place patients who have a respiratory virus in a pandemic? how are we going to staff those areas? what measures might we-- we take to-- prevent those patients who
are infected with the pandemic virus from transmitting it to our-- other patients, and also to our personnel. the first infected patients will be sent here to the biocontainment unit where staff is constantly practicing how to care for others while keeping themselves safe. it's one of ten like this in the country funded by the federal government in the wake of the 2014 ebola crisis. the unit is equipped with rooms where exhaust fans create negative air pressure so pathogens like the coronavirus stay contained. >> sophia henry: have you been around anyone who has tested positive for the coronavirus? >> no. >> lapook: and downstairs in the emergency department, triage nurse sophia henry is now routinely screening every patient. she's on the lookout for cases of possible covid-19. symptoms include fever, a cough,
and shortness of breath. most cases-- about 80%-- are mild. but more serious cases can lead to extensive lung damage and death. reports so far suggest that children appear to be relatively spared from severe infection. we know that patients are understandably concerned about this.re seeing inms of the doctors, nurses, and other personnel here? >> henry: so, people are concerned. we're human. we have children at home. we have family members. some of us are taking care of ill relatives. we are not martyrs. we are not here to sacrifice ourselves. we want to be safe, too. but we have to take care of the patients. this is what we do. >> lapook: and what do you think you would feel if it turned out that somebody was positive? >> henry: i would question. "sophia, did you wear a mask? did you follow the protocol? did you do everything that you were supposed to do for yourself and for the patient?" and if my answer is yes, then i'm fine. >> lapook: do we have a pandemic now? >> tom inglesby: i think this disease meets the definition of pandemic. we have cases on all continents.
>> lapook: dr. tom ingelsby is director of the johns hopkins center for health security. he is an internationally recognized authority on how to prepare for an epidemic. >> donald trump: the united states is now, we're rated number one.wee rad number one fg prepared. >> lapook: late last month, president trump cited one of dr. ingelsby's reports on global pandemic preparedness. what was your reaction to that? >> inglesby: i was surprised to see that report. i didn't know it was coming. and it is true that the u.s. when you-- when you measure capabilities up and down in public health, health care, surveillance, the u.s. is better prepared than any other country. but it's also true that the report says that no country is really prepared for a major pandemic. and that every country has work to do. good morning and thank you all for being part of this pandemic emergency board. >> lapook: four months ago, to help expose weak spots in disaster preparedness, dr. inglesby gathered industry and government leaders from around
the world for a simulation exercise. attending were representatives who could be hard hit during a global pandemic. industries like airlines and hotels and organizations like the world bank and the united nations. officials from the centers for disease control were also here-- from both the u.s. and china. remember this was just a few weeks before the outbreak began in wuhan china. >> ...that we make sure that there is concise communication with all healthcare facilities where these patients are being treated. >> lapook: the group spent an intensive day simulating how they would handle a pandemic of a new strain of coronavirus--one much deadlier than covid-19. the simulation utilized actors reporting on the fictional outbreak... >> even worse, international travelers have been arriving at their destinations symptoms free. >> lapook: ...complete with fictional travel bans, shortages of medical supplies, and economic free fall. >> inglesby: i think it opened the eyes of leaders in various places.
we had-- the c.d.c. director from china was one of the participants. and he has commented since then how eerie the similarities are between the exercise and real life. >> lapook: this past week, airlines canceled thousands of flights and a travel industry trade group predicted virus fears could cost more than $100 billion in lost revenue. >> inglesby: the major disruptions in travel and trade that start pretty early in a pandemic. we're seeing, beginning to see difficulties in supply chains around medical supplies, ingredients for antibiotics. >> lapook: how were you able to nail it so accurately? >> inglesby: well, we've seen a number of problems that haven't been solved with ebola and with 2009 h1n1 influenza. so we kind of gather up the lessons of those various outbreaks and how governments have responded. they kind of worked together and tell a story. >> lapook: the biggest setback in the government's response to the coronavirus outbreak has been its inability to deliver diagnostic tests to hospitals
and labs across the country-- making it impossible for doctors to definitively diagnose the infection and hampering efforts to stop its spread. >> dr. anthony fauci: i've said from the very beginning, we need millions and millions and millions of tests out there. if we have a million and a half or two million next week, great. if we don't, too bad. we should've had it. let's try for the next week. >> lapook: no one in the u.s. has more experience fighting infectious disease outbreaks than dr. anthony fauci. as director of the national institutes of allergy and infectious diseases since 1984, dr. fauci has served as scientific advisor for every president since ronald reagan. he's now a prominent voice on president trump's coronavirus task force. did the shortage of testing kits allow this virus to spread more widely than it might have? >> fauci: obviously, you would like to have had tests available to do more widespread testing. but i don't think you could make a direct line to say that if we
had more tests, w been substantially different. you can't guarantee that. >> lapook: but you may have been able to identify somebody with minimal symptoms and, "oh, let's isolate them. let's--" >> fauci: let's-- okay, h-- but w-- >> lapook: "--figure out who their contacts are--" >> fauci: why don't we say it in a more i think realistic way. it always would've been better to have tests earlier. we are now seeing community spread in the united states like what happened in king county in washington state. a nursing home resident, with no clear source of infection, contracted the disease and it the rsing home.>> look: is thern to think it's not gonna spread widely throughout the entire united states? >> fauci: it depends on the ability to do the kinds of public health measures that could have an impact on the degree to which it spreads. the decision to do the travel restriction from china, retrospectively now, was a very wise decision, no doubt, because we would've had many, many more cases coming in, particularly from wuhan, which would've seeded the country.
>> lapook: in china, millions are quarantined. is that where we're headed here in the united states? >> fauci: i don't imagine that the degree of the draconian nature of what the chinese did would ever be either feasible, applicable, doable or whatever you want to call it in the united states. i don't think you could do that. but the idea of social distancing, i mean, obviously, that's something that will be seriously considered, depending upon where we are in a particular region of the country. >> lapook: social distancing is already happening in the u.s. people are staying away from each other. tens of thousands of students are out of school. many athletic competitions are ther canceled or played without fans. officials are urging people at high risk, like the elderly and those with serious underlying health conditions, to stay home as we don't try to stop the flu through quarantine. we don't try to stop the common cold through quarantine. >> fauci: yeah. and the reason is because you
know each season with some degree of variability, that come march and april, it's going to go down. >> lapook: there's no guarantee, dr. fauci told us, that the coronavirus will die down in warmer weather. also, we have a vaccine and medicines for the flu. right now, for the coronavirus, there are no proven treatments. dr. fauci's lab at the national institutes of health has created a prototype for a vaccine, but he estimates it will be at least a year before it is approved for widespread use. >> donald trump: anybody that needs a test, can have a test. they're all set. they have... in addition to that they are making millions more as we speak. >> lapook: after a week of mixed messages, government officials promised there will soon be at least a million more tests available-- but today, there are nowhere near enough. early on, the administration was criticized for downplaying the outbreak. whhe dger of minimizing the risk of an infectious disease outbreak?
>> fauci: well, i mean, the danger of minimization on-- on-- in-- any-- arena of-- of infectious disease a be complacent, number one. number two-- when bad things happen, your credibility is lost because you've downplayed something.ti b the scientists and the administration. and specifically if president ump says something l-- at the beginning of february like, "we think we have it under control." you're in the room.i'm not muzzd because i'm talking to you. >> lapook: exactly, you're right here. >> inglesby: so that's really important. >> lapook: this past week dr. tom ingelsby told congress, and "60 minutes," one of the duties of public officials is to be candid. it's a natural instinct of a health official or a government official to want to reassure people. >> inglesby: public health agencies aren't departments of reassurance, they're departments
of public health. they need to tell people what kind of interventions will be most useful for their families, own risks. >> lapook: the very act of being honest and putting it in perspective is reassuring, even if the information itself is worrisome. >> inglesby: yes. i think there are going to be challenges. and there are-- are going to be a lot of sick people. but i think we've got a very, very strong health care system and a lot of talent in our public health agencies, an incredible scientific base in this country. and very, very-- strong industry in the right places. so i think we're-- we're going to get through it. i think it's just going to pose a lot of challenges along the way. ( ticking ) to lead the minority business development agency. today, she leads the ywca usa in their national effort
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>> stahl: you may remember fiona hill from her passionate testimony- and english accent-- during the impeachment hearings of president trump. she held one of the most sensitive jobs at the white house as the president's top adviser on russia. she's considered by scholars, the intelligence community, ad politicians-- both republicans and democrats- to be one of the world's leading experts on vladimir putin. when we sat down with dr. hill on tuesday for her first interview since testifying, she told us her goal was to sound the alarm about russian meddling in our political system, which is tearing us apart. >> fiona hill: putin, sadly, has got all of our political class, every single one of us, including the media, exactly where he wants us. he's got us feeling vulnerable, he's got us feeling on edge, and
he's got us questioning the legitimacy of our own systems. >> stahl: but how much of our polarization, of the fact that we are heads butting in this country, how much of that came from the russians? >> hill: well, certainly in 2016, a lot of it did. but they don't invent the divisions. the russians didn't invent partisan divides. the russians haven't invented racism in the united states. but the russians understand a lot of those divisions, and they understand how to exploit them. >> stahl: do you think we're in a second cold war? >> hill: i don't think that we're in a second cold war. the one thing that people need to bear in mind is that the russian military still has the capacity to wipe out the united states through a nuclear strike. but there is no ideological struggle. the cold war were two systems against each other. in a sense we're in the same system. we're competitors. te fionll imt
hearings, she had already left the trump white house after spending over two years on the national security council. as a witness, she stood out for her passion and purpose in warning that russia is up to no good-- again. >> hill: right now russian security services and their proxies have geared up to repeat their interference in the 2020 elections. we are running out of time to stop them. >> stahl: talking about 2020, there've been a lot of stories saying that the russians are hoping that bernie sanders will be the candidate, the democratic candidate. does that make sense to you? >> hill: it does make sense 'cause what the russians are looking for is the two candidates who are kind of the polar opposites. they're looking, you know, to basically have the smallest possible number of people supporting those two candidates with everybody else kind of lost exs as weldle. polarization in the country. >> stahl: i'm listening to you.
and yet, my mind is going over all the other factors that have like facebook, fox news, msnbc. i mean, there are so many factors here. >> hilhi fact that facebook and other outlets have not stepped up to the occasion to really address things that are just outright lies and falsehoods. >> stahl: this whole issue of blaming ukraine for meddling in the 2016 election that you spoke out against during the hearings. i mean, that really- isn't it that really is spreading russian disinformation, right? >> hill: this is very much a fictional narrative that has been propagated by the russian intelligence services. >> stahl: and a lot of those republicans were promoting it. d do they not know that it's russian disinformation? >> hill: members of congress
have been briefed repeatedly on issues like this. > stahl: what about the democrats? have they also propagated any russian disinformation? ythe. in the sense of talking abouteng illegitimate. >> stahl: she had worked as an intelligence officer on russia under presidents george w. bush and barack obama. at the trump white house, she was in charge of all of europe. but she's best known for her shrewd analysis of vladimir putin. she's written what's been called the definitive book about him, and has met with him several times over the years. >> hill: he wasn't a professional politician. he came out of the k.g.b. he had learned certain skills there. you're basically figuring out how to size someone up and then to figure out what makes them tick, what their vulnerabilities in particulars might be so how can you hone in on those to get people to do what it is you want them to do. >> stahl: do you think that he studied president trump and did
find some vulnerabilities andhot president? hill: he does this wh absolutely everybody that he interacts with. >> stahl: for example, with german chancellor angela merkel at one of their first meetings. >> hill: putin knew from all of his research on her that she was very scared of dogs. putin has a very big black labrador called konni. and he has the black labrador come into the room and the black lab immediately comes and starts sniffing around the chair of the chancellor. the whole purpose of that was intimidation. >> stahl: sure. >> hill: the chancellor is, of course, a professional. and she's a woman who is used to having people try to intimidate her and she kept it together. >> stahl: why do you think the president seems so allergic to criticizing putin? he almost can't do it, or he won't do it. >> hill: president trump understands that president putin does not like to be insulted. putin takes it very personally. he harbors a grudge. he doesn't forget. and he will find some way of getting some degree of revenge
as a result of that. >> stahl: but for a lot of people, that the president has never and will never criticize putin in any way has seemed strange. >> hill: it's also a tactic that the president- president trump- - has employed with other world leaders as well. >> stahl: you know, he's insulted our allies, the leaders of-- in the west. >> hill: i mean, he looked at the allies-- you know, many times as though they're business counterparts. and so he brought the same style that he would've applied in, you know, pretty hard-nosed business discussions. i think that that did-- and has in many respects, done some damage to many of our key relationships. >> stahl: her journey to washington was a steep, tough climb. she grew up poor-- a coal miner's daughter in bishop auckland, county durham in northern england. but she ended up with a p.h.d. from harvard and a top job at the brookings institution, a washington think tank.
after 9-11, she became an american citizen. in her role at the white house, she was involved in briefings with the president. does president trump ask good questions? >> hill: he does, actually, because he's challenging assumptions. again, this is somebody who hasn't come in from a government position. you know, obviously, there was a lot of insightful questions about why are things set up, how did that start? and a lot of questions about how much do things cost. i think the big disadvantage of constantly challenging is the fat that, you know, this disruption, this constant disruption, often makes it very difficult to move forward. >> stahl: now, as you've mentioned, you've also worked for president barack obama. i wonder how this president is different in how he makes decisions and what the whole process is in the white house. >> hill: so, with president obama, he's a very different
he would often, you know, sit with his hand on his chin and just be looking at you and not really moving. and you'd be, you know, i have to say, feeling just a little, "is he-- is he listening?" you know, he hasn't moved. and then he would ask-- maybe one or two really insightful questions. and obviously, president trump has a much more freewheeling style, much more eclectic. he has his briefings with different people. and he just gets information from a lot of other sources. >> stahl: what about the fact that the president seems to be getting rid of, purging almost, people with expertise, people with a lot of experience in intelligence or diplomacy and replacing them with people who are loyal to him. >> hill: we've got ourselves into a situation where government service is somehow seen to be a political act rather than an af civic duty or of public service. there's been a lot of bandying around this term of "radical unelected bureaucrats." we're in the middle of a public
health crisis. you don't want somebody who's just looking up on google or wikipedia, looking up, you know, kind of the coronavirus online. most of the public health officials are public servants and experts. we need those experts at times of crisis. and so it's deeply disturbing to see people trying to bring them all down for, you know, their own domestic political purposes. >> stahl: i'm sitting here and every time i ask you a question about president trump you defend him. and then you say things like that. and i keep thinking, "well, she's criticizing the president" without saying his name. >> hill: there's an awful lot to criticize for everybody, correct? and i don't think that at this stage where we are in our political life that it does any good about doing any kind of personal criticism on anybody. >> stahl: but at the hearings, she seemed far more critical, describing a chaotic white house
with n.s.c. officials like her left in the dark, while rogue operators were off on missions for the president, like then ambassador gordon sondland. >> hill: because he was being involved in a domestic political errand, and we were being involved in national security- foreign policy and those two things had just diverged. and i did say to him, ambassador sondland- gordon-- i think this is all going to blow up. and here we are. >> stahl: when you took the job, i know that there were some of your friends who had urged you not to. i wonder if any of your friends stopped talking to you. >> hill: there were some people in the professional circles in which i move through certainly took, let's just say some took offense, frankly, at the fact that i had-- decided to get this. they had given me counsel not to do the job. and they, you know, actually did believe that i would be aiding and abetting something nefarious by joining the administration. i felt very strongly, however, that we were in situation where
we were to a confrontation with russia that someone like myself, who was not political, someone who was an expert should step up and try to do something. >> stahl: right after you started at the white house, there was a smear campaign against you. public, distressing i'm sure. what was that all about? >> hill: well, i'm still trying to get to the bottom of some of that, to be honest. >> alex jones: he's got a major soros mole discovered in the white house, breaking now-- >> may 2017: right-wing conspr lan oin mpgn to dit her. >> roger stone: george soros has penetrated the trump white house. a woman named fiona hill-- >> hill: i have to say that the scale of this did take me by surprise. threats? >> hill: there were death threats. there was-- quite a number of them, especially online. >> stahl: she found it disturbing. and she doesn't rattle easily >> adam schiff: if you will please rise.
>> stahl: as the public saw at the impeachment hearings as she held her own when committee members challenged her. >> hill: this is a fictional narrative. >> stahl: in becoming an overnight public figure, she found herself contending with the anxieties of her 13-year-old daughter. how did she absorb all of this? >> hill: initially, she was, you know, somewhat concerned about the whole thing. >> stahl: she must have been worrying all that time? >> hill: but she also helped me put things into perspective.beca ant to ttify in public, and obviously i was trying to prepare myself for this, she was preparing for a big test. and she was having me quiz her in the car when i was driving her to school. and she was getting quite anxious. and, you know, i was kind of trying to pull rank on this one and said, "look, put it into perspective. you know, mommy, tomorrow has to, you know, kind of testify before congress and millions of people might be watching. and, you know, i mean, this is a test. and she just looked at me and she said, "this is much worse."
and i said, "what do you mean?" and she said, "well, you just have to tell the truth." ( ticking ) >> cbs spores hq is presented by progressive insurance. i'm greg gumbel in new york. five teams have punched a ticket to the n.c.a.a. tournament. utah state and belmont both won their conference tournaments in dramatic fashion and clinched consecutive n.c.a.a. berths. winthrop took the big south. bradley makes it back-to-back n.c.a.a. appearances for first time in 56 years. liberty won the atlantic sun, extending its home win streak to 23. for more go to cbssportshq.com. insurance guy, aren't you? t the pasty one? oh, yeah. as if! like i'm gonna go into some spiel about how you can get options based on your budget with the name your price tool. hey, robbie, you tell them about the mushroom puffers? just about to, pam.
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frozen canals. it's an epic test of endurance and it's been a sacred part of dutch life since 1909. the winner becomes an instant celebrity. there are no bigger heroes in the netherlands. now the legendary race is under threat. but as we found out, the dutch will go a long way to keep the tradition alive. ( cheering ) it's 6:00 a.m. race day. thousands of dutch skaters shiver in the dark, steeling themselves for the marathon ahead. goggles protect against the freezing cold. headlamps are the only way to spot the dangerous cracks in the ice. jockeying for position, the racers push towards the starting gate. ( cannon fires ) at the gun, they stream eagerly into the darkness. from the air it looks like rush hour. careening around tight corners,
the skaters fight for every inch. soon, the early morning sky is flooded with pink light. it spills over the mountains. but wait a minute- there's something wrong with this picture. there are no mountains in holland. and that's a lake, not a canal. turns out, we're not in the netherlands where the elfstedentocht is supposed to happen. the dutch have moved the whole thing 750 miles away to austria. why? back in holland, winter is just not showing up the way it used to. what do you feel when you look at this now? >> wiebe wieling: i feel extremely disappointed because i know it's not going to happen this winter. >> whitaker: chief organizer wiebe wieling has job of working all year preparing for the elfstedentocht as if it's going to happen. his group even has a dedicated
national weather forecaster on high alert for freezing temperatures. there's no fixed date, it just needs to get cold enough. and that hasn't happened in holland for 23 years. in your lifetime, have you seen the weather change? the winters change? >> wieling: yes. we see less winters and less severe winters. it's changing. >> whitaker: we met at the bridge of tiles, where the grip of this race on the national psyche is on full display. anyone who ever finished the elfstedentocht is immortalized here. wieling raced it twice. do you remember when you raced? >> wieling: yes. i know the day i got married, but the two days i raced are even bigger. my wife is not here, so i can say it. that's the way it is for most of the participants. >> whitaker: there's even a term for this skating obsession: elfstedentocht fever. as soon as the temperaturedr d i
r icre likely to find ice indoors. global warming has slashed the chances of another elfstedentocht happening in holland to a sliver. for world champion skater erben wennemars, that cuts right to the heart. >> erben wennemars: people ask me, like, would you give all your medals away for one elfstedentocht. of course. >> whitaker: you have two olympic medals. >> wennemars: yeah. >> whitaker: six world speed championships. >> wennemars: yeah. >> whitaker: you're a national champion. >> wennemars: yeah. >> whitaker: and-- >> wennemars: all given away. for sure. >> whitaker: you would give that all away to run this race? >> wennemars: yeah. >> whitaker: it's that important to you? >> wennemars: yeah. i think it comes so close to what sports is all about. >> whitaker: he told us his biggest regret was that he's never skated the elfstedentocht in holland. he was away at the 1997 world cup last time, and he worries there might not be another chance on home ice. what would it mean to the netherlands? >> wennemars: that would be a loss for holland.
a big loss for holland. a loss for our tradition, of our culture. it's who we are. >> whitaker: the last elfstedentocht in holland is now the stuff of legend. 16,000 skaters strapped on their blades. millions took the day off and cheered as a brussels sprouts farmer named henk angenent sprinted the last few yards to win. >> henk angenent: yeah, yeah it was crazy. but i had a super day. >> whitaker: he had skated 125 miles- without stopping- in less than seven hours. >> angenent: six hours, and 49 minutes and 11 seconds. >> whitaker: and 11 seconds. any >> wite. it is... >> whitaker: overnight, he became a star. there's no prize money, but with his newfound fame, he traded ros r show jumpers. the race, he told us, changed his life.
the day before the race, nobody knows your name. >> angenent: yes. >> whitaker: the day after the race-- >> angenent: everybody. >> whitaker: everybody in the netherlands knows who you are. >> angenent: yeah. >> whitaker: what's that like? you're a hero >> angenent: yeah, yeah, i'm hero. but i'm still henk angenent. >> whitaker: now a coach, he was among the thousands of dutch skaters who packed up and poured into austria for the re-located race, for what's called the alternative elfstedentocht. sitting high in the alps, tiny weissensee- a village of 700- balloons to 6,000. ( clapping to beat ) it's a friendly invasion. there are boisterous dutch pep rallies ahead of the race. enf dutch treats. and lots and lots of traditional singalongs.
♪ ♪ ( chain saw ) how the race ended up here is partly down to this guy: the ice meister of weissensee, norbert jank. in 1989, he helped persuade a visiting dutch businessman that weissensee always had good ice. this year? ten inches thick. so that's thick enough to hold all of these skaters? >> norbert jank: das ist gut. das ice is perfect. >> whitaker: the ice is perfect. >> jank: ya, ya. >> whitaker: this yearning for ice is why the blom family is here. we met them getting down to the business of carb loading ahead of the race. they had driven 11 hours from lom family! >> whitaker: and there were a lot of them. >> i'm charit blum, the eldest one. >> i'm janika blom. >> i'm flores blom. >> i'm farika blom >> i'm married to this blom. >> i'm jenrique blom. >> whitaker: even the youngest
at ten-years-old was aiming to skate 60 miles. >> jenrique blom: and i hope to skate with my mom. >> whitaker: all the bloms had the fever. >> stunni blom: i'm stunni. >> whitaker: well, almost all. >> stunni blom: i don't like skating. ( laughs ) >> hetti blom: tomorrow we all have this. and also here. >> leonard blom: yeah, so you can recognize, yes. >> whitaker: johan blom explained what the race meant to them. >> johan blom: the biggest sport events in america, what is it again? >> whitaker: the super bowl >> johan blom: yeah, the super bowl. america kind of comes to a standstill. and that times three would happen if the netherlands would have an elfstedentocht. >> whitaker: really? >> yeah. >> whitaker: i think the netherlands must be the only country in the world where >> oh, yeah. >> whitaker: the bloms conceded it helped to be dutch. you get up early in the morning. it's dark. >> yeah. >> whitaker: there's always an injury. >> yeah. >> whitaker: it's like everybody
gets blisters. what's the attraction? ( laughs ) >> leonard blom: everybody on the ice is 50% more friendly than at other times. and it's so nice. >> janika blom: it's the suffering together in the end that keeps you going as well. cause there's definitely suffering involved i can tell you. >> go, go, go! >> whitaker: but nothing seems to stop the dutch when it comes to skating. this veteran racer fixed blades to his walker. as the sun climbed higher, the pack thinned out- and crashed out. the top racers going the full 125 miles still clung together. but some of the bloms- and many others- were just trying to reach their personal best. like howard morris, a librarian from minnesota, and the lone american in the race. i heard that you called yourself a slow speed skater? >> howard morris: yes, yes. >> whitaker: explain that to me >> morris: you'll notice a lot
of the dutch people are very tall, much taller than i am. which gives them longer legs, which also gives them the ability to do a long stroke with their legs. >> whitaker: morris told us he'd started speed skating in his 40s. when he dreamed of doing an elfstedentocht, a dutch friend told him he'd have to go to austria. what do you think of the fact that they've not been able to have an elfstedentocht in the netherlands since 1997? >> morris: it's the reality of the times, and i know some people fear that the whole tradition of skating, which is part of their culture, will die out because of the change in winters. >> whitaker: even here in the alps there are worrying signs. while weissensee had ice, the village had almost no snow. and this year's race was limited to only half of the lake, the ice wasn't thick enough elsewhere. in full swing, it's hard to tell who was winning or losing.
but for the racers going on six hours, none of that mattered. what mattered now was not falling. getting back up. and finishing. howard morris made his goal of 30 miles. what's the best part about it for you? >> morris: it was kinda fun to hear my name announced as i crossed the start and finish line, too. >> whitaker: the winner of the marathon blew by the finish line, and collapsed, exhausted. but you might, too, if you'd been skating for seven hours-- nonstop. the agony of the feet. some crumpled into the arms of supporters. and the bloms? people say that people who do the elfstedentocht you have to be a little bit crazy. >> leonard blom: yeah, it helps.
>> whitaker: so the blums are a little bit crazy. >> leonard blom: oh, yeah. i'm sorry, but it's true. >> whitaker: the bloms were on the lookout for ten-year-old jenrique. finally they spotted his blue jacket. ( screaming ) jenrique had skated about 60 miles in just over nine hours. you know there have been a couple of broken bones here. somebody got taken away in a helicopter. i mean, this can be dangerous. >> johan blom: it is. if you're tired, you know, your coordination is not what you want it any more. you see the crack, but your legs won't do any more what your brain is telling them to do. >> whitaker: as the day faded, the racers summoned the last of their energy. these skaters had watched the now thhad se ♪ ♪ that night, the skaters were toasted at a traditional blister ball.
♪ ♪ but if this bunch was hurting, it was well hidden. ♪ ♪ these skaters were still on their feet, drunk with accomplishment. back in holland, race organizer wiebe wieling resigned himself to another winter slipped by. >> wieling: no ice. no skating. next year, a new opportunity. >> whitaker: hope springs eternal. >> wieling: that's true. >> how clite change is puttingtd elfstedentocht talk. sponsored by "60 minutes." are living in the moment and taking ibrance.
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- previously on "god friended me"... - aaron worked for some mysterious employer online. - coonfries. - so either alphonse has no idea his son is behind the god account... - or he lied to us. - i wanted to see if you were interested in getting dinner some time. - i have breast cancer. - sometimes it's easier to talk to a stranger. so, how's 7:00 tomorrow? - i--i get how important anna's faith was. - maybe the god account wanted you to know that it's never too late. that faith will be there if you ever need it. ♪ [upbeat music]
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