Oscar Mathisen
Speedskating - Oscar Diary

Through Germany

A hundred years ago today, Oscar Mathisen and his teammates were on their way home through Germany. Compared to the excitement of the weekend, they found little thrill in the low, industrial country they were passing through. They passed the time with small-talk and stories, and when they ran out of topics, they turned to the cards. Still the hours went slowly. But boredom aside, the atmosphere in their compartment had changed completely since they were on their way down. This may be related, as Oscar surmises, to the manner in which they had solved their task and fulfilled the hopes that had been invested in them. Hunger and sleeplessness seemed to have lost their sting altogether.

Well, perhaps not altogether, because as the day wore on and these three energetic young men hadn’t had a thing to eat since they left Davos the day before, it became increasingly clear that some form of sustainment had to be had. Thus, when the train arrived at Berlin in the evening, they turned their pockets inside-out and took account of what they had to spend. As it turned out, Martin and Sigurd together could provide the equivalent of exactly one NOK. Oscar, however, thanks to his exemplary prudence on the way down, could provide nearly 20 NOK.

So they left their suitcases at the station and went out to buy two loaves of white bread, a “mark” of butter (about ¼ of a kilogram), and a huge “sveitserpølse” (literally “Swiss sausage”—not sure what to make of that). With all these delights in their pockets they found their way into the restaurant at Stettiner Bahnhof, located the darkest and remotest corner they could find and ordered drei kleine Bier. The walls of the restaurant were pasted over at highly regular intervals with vivid blackletter signs saying that it was strictly verboten to eat food acquired elsewhere than in the restaurant, but the skaters were far too hungry to worry about such formalities. They went ahead, cutting and spreading under the table and keeping a keen eye on the waiter lest he were to discover their crimes. Whenever he happened to look in their direction they stopped chewing simultaneously like a well-drilled troop and just sat there gazing at nothing with innocent looks on their faces and mouths full of bread and Schweizerwurst until he turned away again.

Well-glutted and happy they located their next train and sat down to ride on the rails into the moonlit night for home.

Distance statistics before and after Davos 1908:

500 m:
1.Rudolf Gundersen  44,8 06 1.Johan Vikander    44,4 08
1.Mauritz Öholm     44,8 07 1.Sigurd Mathisen   44,4 08
3.Peder Østlund     45,2 00 3.Rudolf Gundersen  44,8 06
4.Sigurd Mathisen   46,0 08 3.Mauritz Öholm     44,8 07
5.Julius Seyler     46,2 98 5.Peder Østlund     45,2 00
5.Franz F Wathén    46,2 03 6.Oscar Mathisen    45,8 08
5.Peter Sinnerud    46,2 04 7.Julius Seyler     46,2 98
5.Martin Sæterhaug  46,2 08 7.Franz F Wathén    46,2 03
9.Johan Schwartz    46,6 02 7.Peter Sinnerud    46,2 04
10.Wilhelm Mauseth  46,8 95 7.Martin Sæterhaug  46,2 08
10.Alfred Næss      46,8 96 7.Thomas Bohrer     46,2 08
10.Asbjørn Bye      46,8 02 12.Arne Schrey      46,4 08
10.Gunnar Strömstén 46,8 06 13.Johan Schwartz   46,6 02
14.Einar Halvorsen  47,0 94 14.Wilhelm Mauseth  46,8 95
14.Oluf Steen       47,0 07 14.Alfred Næss      46,8 96
16.Martinus Lørdahl 47,2 96 14.Asbjørn Bye      46,8 02
16.Johan Vikander   47,2 07 14.Gunnar Strömstén 46,8 06
16.Oscar Mathisen   47,2 08 18.Einar Halvorsen  47,0 94
16.Thomas Bohrer    47,2 08 18.Oluf Steen       47,0 07
20.Gösta Spennert   47,3 06 20.Martinus Lørdahl 47,2 96
21.Oscar Fredriksen 47,4 98 21.Gösta Spennert   47,3 06
21.Edvard Engelsaas 47,4 00 22.Oscar Fredriksen 47,4 98
21.Rudolf Røhne     47,4 02 22.Edvard Engelsaas 47,4 00
21.Harald Bredstue  47,4 04 22.Rudolf Røhne     47,4 02
21.Herman Söderbäck 47,4 07 22.Harald Bredstue  47,4 04
26.Gustaf Estlander 47,6 98 22.Herman Söderbäck 47,4 07
26.Toivo Tillander  47,6 03 22.Antti Wiklund    47,4 08
26.David Jahrl      47,6 03 28.Gustaf Estlander 47,6 98
26.Miltiadesz Manno 47,6 08 28.Toivo Tillander  47,6 03
30.Carsten Carlsen  47,7 08 28.David Jahrl      47,6 03
                            28.Miltiadesz Manno 47,6 08