Oscar Mathisen
Speedskating - Oscar Diary

Lowland record!

The 1909 European Championship had only 6 participants, mainly because the organising club itself had reduced the field by arranging a Hungarian championship as a skateoff the last two days before the championship, no less. A strange arrangement and unorthodox even for this age. Probably done as a last-minute decision after some amount of discussion. Possibly between a fraction that wanted to enter all the best Hungarian skaters in the Nordic fashion, and a fraction that wanted a compact, handpicked meet in the tradition of the central European speedskating championships. With this arrangement, they ensured that their anniversary celebration wouldn’t be disgraced by too many slow 10000 meters. Evidently already a crucial point for speedskating as a public sport. Apparently it was already fighting a losing battle in Budapest, as there is no doubt that the figure skating was the main attraction of the event.

In the first pair of the 500m, Sigurd Mathisen met Schilling, and the world record man soon skated away from him. His time was good, 47,8. The Viennese 50,6. Then Mannó met Öholm, who skated vigorously away from him. The Swede hoped to defend his European title, and smiled happy when the time was announced: 46,4, a new lowland pb. The home favourite at least improved since the skateoff, but 48,7 was not one of his best races. Finally, the Austrian Bohrer, also to be reckoned home favourite in this era, had the surprising luck of drawing his expected main rival for the championship, just like last year, now in the shape of the young Norwegian Oscar Mathisen. Oscar felt confident about his sprint now. He knew what it took to win it. And he skated the 500 of his life, cutting into the curves with a daring never seen before. Soon he opened a lead, and down the back straight he (possibly) crept ever closer to his pairmate, who also skated in desperation, entering the curve just a meter or two behind, powering through the last curve and finishing in 45,6, a new lowland world record. Bohrer’s race was good, too: 46,7 a new lowland pb for him. The ice apparently was excellent today.

1.Oscar Mathisen  45,6
2.Moje Öholm      46,4
3.Thomas Bohrer   46,7
4.Sigurd Mathisen 47,8
5.Miltiades Mannó 48,7
6.Franz Schilling 50,6

Now the figure skaters had their turn, grinding through their compulsory figures. The applause was great and whole-hearted. Appreciably more whole-hearted than under the 500m. A Swede held the title here, too: Ulrich Salchow. In fact he had as many as 6 European titles to defend. And he defended them well. Hardly a fault did he make, and only the Austrian and one of the German judges dared to give him anything less than 1st place. Lily Kronberger was unrivalled in the women’s class, because her only rival, Mrs. Dorothy Greenhough-Smith failed to show up.

Meanwhile, also, the losers of the Hungarian skateoff skated a 1500m along with some Austrians, won by Wampetics in 2.42,8.

In the first pair of the 5000m, Bohrer was paired with the other Mathisen, Sigurd. And he went boldly to his task, looking stronger, more determined than the year before, and Sigurd could not follow. In the end, he was more than a lap behind. The timekeepers conferred. Clearly, the time must be excellent. It was. 8.51,9—a new personal best. Only 4 people had skated it better before. One of them, Oscar, started in the next pair against Öholm. It is not known for how long the Swede fought to retain his title. It is only known that some time along the way, his hopes were shattered, as he fell. Possibly out of exhaustion, trying to follow Oscar, who skated a good race, and must have been disappointed when he heard the time, 8.59,5. Soundly beaten, well well. Looks like he were going to have to fight for the championship after all. In the last pair, Schilling skated alone, as the home favourite Mannó pulled out. He must have been tired after securing his title. Tough on a sprinter like him asking him to skate two 5000 meters in two days, perhaps. Or possibly he was a little unhappy with this unorthodox selection procedure. Anyway, Schilling skated reasonably well and finished in 9.26,0.

1.Thomas Bohrer   8.51,9
2.Oscar Mathisen  8.59,5
3.Moje Öholm      9.20,0
4.Sigurd Mathisen 9.20,6
5.Franz Schilling 9.26,0
1.Oscar Mathisen   3
2.Thomas Bohrer    4
3.Moje Öholm       5
4.Sigurd Mathisen  8
5.Franz Schilling 10

Meanwhile, back home in Kristiania, Sportsforeningen Mjølner arranged their first meet at Frogner, where the club’s two best skaters, the 18 years old Henning Olsen and the 15 years old Aksel Mathiesen, vied for the 5000 meters win. Olsen pulled the longest straw here and clocked 10.20,0, with the talented Mathiesen a fifth behind. The meet continues tomorrow with the 500 and 1500 meters.