Oscar Mathisen
Speedskating - Oscar Diary

A 100 years ago today, 2000 Chinese soldiers marched into Lhasa, and the Dalai Lama again was on the run. At the river Yarlung Tsangpo his attending guard force under command of the 24 year old Chensal Nemgang, only equipped with 34 rifles, bravely and famously held off 200 Chinese pursuers, giving the Dalai Lama time to reach the British authorities in India.

In Kristiania the Finnish Cup was due this weekend, the first match for the third cup, the second one having been won by Kristiania in Helsingfors last year. Just like last year, the strength of the Finns was unknown when they started abroad for the first time, as no results were known (or are known today) from Finland before the meet. Last year they showed surprising signs of weakness, and the Swedes were more competitive than them. Were they going to return as strong as ever this year, or had they given up the championship chase with the Norwegians now having such a seemingly unbeatable skater again? At least on paper their team looked strong: Wathén, Vikander, Wickström and Strömstén. KSK fielded the Mathisen brothers with Henning Olsen and Magnus Johansen. The Finns arrived at 10:30 the day before the match, were welcomed by the KSK board and a crowd of several hundred interested citizens, and were lodged at the city mission hotel.

After last year’s World Championship, many people had complained about the stands, and this year the club had been busy building more of them around the rink, and laying down plank-bridges next to the track to avoid having spectators standing in the snow there like last year. After the constructions, the capacity now was 16,000.

But the weather gods still were unhappy. The thaw continued. Melting snow dripped from every roof, and on the day of the match, the sunny splendour of Børsesjøen had given way to city squalls of wet, slushy snow. The ice was inspected and found passable, but rough, and it was decided to give it a go with the water wagon, which improved it considerably. 3000 spectators defied the unpleasant weather, not at all bad on a Saturday.

The races started at 2:30, and the first pair in the 5000m was Oscar and Wickström. It snowed worse than ever, and you couldn’t see a thing on the opposite side of the rink. The home favourite drove on with steady, strong strides as fast as he could go under the circumstances. For each lap the Finn was further behind, and at the bell the difference was more than a 100 meters. The times were 9.55.1 and 10.07.0, not bad in these conditions.

2nd pair was Olsen and Strömstén. This Finn was feared after his two fine seasons in 1907 and 1908, but here he was a pale shadow of himself, and the young Norwegian beat him by close to half a lap: 10.10.0 and 10.26.8.

The sensation came in the third pair. Magnus Johansen started in a fine, light rhythm, and Vikander quickly fell behind. The difference was more than half a lap at the end this time, and the time announced over the megaphone was 9.47.4. Oscar was beaten, for the first time this year! The spectators looked at each other and at the weather. The show, hadn’t it abated some? Yes, it seemed so. Johansen had benefited from the mild weather, some claimed. With his lighter frame he was less hampered by the soft ice than Oscar. Many nods of agreement were exchanged on that.

Now, each of the Norwegians had beaten his Finnish pairmate by increasing margins, and Sigurd didn’t plan to break that trend. He left the former World Champion Wathén well behind and nearly lapped him at the finish line. The times were poor, but that didn’t bother the audience, who flung their hats, caps and umbrellas in the air, delighted over the quadruple victory.


1.Magnus Johansen   9.47.4
2.Oscar Mathisen    9.55.1
3.Väinö Wickström  10.07.0
4.Henning Olsen    10.10.0
5.John Vikander    10.11.4
6.Sigurd Mathisen  10.20.0
7.Gunnar Strömstén 10.26.8
8.Franz F Wathén   11.02.0

KSK 7 - HSK 14

Meanwhile the Swedish Championship had started at Falun, with Öholm dominant in the absence of Otto Andersson, and seemingly under similar weather circumstances.

1.Moje Öholm        48.3
2.Birger Carlsson   51.2
3.G Asplund         51.8 pb
4.Einar Stamberg    52.6 pb
5.Carl Wickholm     53.8 pb
6.Herbert Nordkvist 54.6 pb
7.Viktor Thorild    62.2

1.Öholm      9.48.2
2.Carlsson   9.58.2
3.Nordkvist 10.07.2
4.Asplund   10.21.8
5.Stamberg  10.45.0
6.Thorild   10.48.8
Wickholm dnf

1.Öholm      2
2.Carlsson   4
3.Asplund    7
4.Nordkvist  8
5.Stamberg   9
6.Thorild   12