A 100 years ago today the town by the Mjøsa lake was bathing in the lovely early spring sunshine. The night had been freezing and the ice was smooth and shiny on the lake. The competitions for the Hamar cup could continue today with the 500 and the 1500 meter. But the meet hadn’t quite turned out as planned. They had invited Strunnikov, intending to give Oscar a chance of revenge under normal ice conditions. But the Russian was not so keen. Then no Kristiania skater turned up either, to the great consternation of the organising club. After the short Saturday event a telephone call was made to the Kristiania club, and no great care was taken to watch the language. A promise was extracted that the former World Champion, the biggest star of the club, the darling of the nation, Oscar Mathisen, would be put on the train for Hamar on Sunday morning. Well, ok, that was better than nothing at least.
But it was a bit of a faded darling who arrived at Hamar Station this Sunday morning. He wasn’t greeted with brass bands and the Hamarsings didn’t stampede to catch a glimpse of him. Out on the Mjøsa ice the attendance was bigger than the day before, a couple of thousands, but not like the crowds of Mathisen’s heyday. And the meet they were there to witness wasn’t much of a competition either. In addition to Mathisen and Sæterhaug only two Hamar skaters appeared, Otto Monsen, the best skater of the town, and a junior, Hilmar Bækkevold. In the 500m the crowd did get something to cheer for after all, as Oscar, paired with Sæterhaug, pulled out one of his good 500 meters again and crossed the line in 45,4, a new national record, with his pairmate 1 second behind. No faster time had been achieved on Norwegian ice, and the sight of it first drew a gasp, then a storm of applause from the audience. In the other pair, Monsen made 48,0 and Bækkevold 52,6.
1.Oscar Mathisen 45,4 lowland pb NR 2.Martin Sæterhaug 46,4 3.Otto Monsen 48,0 Hilmar Bækkevold 52,6 (jr)
In the 1500m the ice had been affected by the warm spring sun and had lost some of its glide. And in addition, good old Martin was in top shape at the end of the season as usual. Oscar tried to leave him behind, sure enough, but he was hard to leave behind today, and in the end he came back upon him and won.
1.Martin Sæterhaug 2.33,4 2.Oscar Mathisen 2.34,0 3.Otto Monsen 2.44,2 Hilmar Bækkevold 2.48,8 (jr)
And since the Hamar cup only included the 500 and the 1500m, a final was needed, as the two rivals now had one distance win each. Well, tired maybe of the whole thing Oscar allowed the crowd to cheer him forth to yet another defeat in his favourite distance, even bigger than the last one. The times were 2.38,0 and 2.39,4.
Then all that was left was to congratulate the meet winner, pack your things and be on your way home for the last time this year. It had been fun while it lasted, but now the arrow seemed to be pointing downwards. Was this the end already then? At home a letter lay waiting for him, maybe not exactly this day, but it wasn’t many days in the coming.
And now, today’s commercial: