Oscar Mathisen
Speedskating - Oscar Diary

Near miss

A hundred years ago today, Oscar Mathisen stood at the starting line in Davos for the 1500m. Vividly he remembered the day nearly a year ago now, when he shattered the world record of Østlund. Now he intended to improve it again. He was older by a year, he was quicker and felt stronger, too. The weather was not as good as then. Still windy and snowy. But the ice was smooth and slippery...

The race started. Fighting the biting wind stubbornly on every other straight, he sailed in it on the opposite ones. Perhaps he never had skated the distance better. The time was announced: 2.21,0—heavens, that was close! Sigurd in second place had only 2.29. Now Oscar had skated the two best 1500 meter times in skating history.

Then it was time for the 10000 meter. But the ice wasn’t so smooth any more; apparently the temperature had risen. Oscar skated a new good race, but only good enough for 18.26,8, though he won it by more than a minute. It seemed the 1000 meter would be his only harvest from this meet. But a new 5000m was scheduled for Monday as a replacement for the one ruined by the lapkeepers. One last chance.

Meanwhile in Stockholm, Otto Andersson made his debut in Adelskalenderen with a fine 59th place (or 58th if Birger Carlsson skated the 10000 after him) after winning his first Scandinavian mile at the Swedish Championship. Öholm won the championship by a large difference, but only was 4th and 3rd in the long distances. Thourén, the new record holder in the 10000m, won the 5000, and with these progressing talents, Swedish skating seemed to be heading for a bright future. Andersson was hailed as the greatest allround talent the Swedes had had until then.

Few items of news had come from Finland so far this season, but today a hundred years ago, Schrey set a new Finnish record in the 1500m with 2.30,0, also climbing to 6th place in the lowland 1500m list.

Also today in Kongsberg, the town treasurer (if he already held that position) Sigurd Ruud finished 3rd in the 1500m at a local meet. The time is not known. At home, Ruud had a one year old son called Sigmund. In the following years he would get two more, Birger and Asbjørn by name. But that is another story.