Oscar Mathisen
Speedskating - Oscar Diary

A 100 years ago today, some Swedish officers had been wolf-hunting around the border and accidentially crossed it. This lead to an episode, which in the opinion of Swedish newspapers could have been handled more tactfully, and they describe the Norwegian behaviour as bornated. Meanwhile there’s a jihad in Yemen. 40,000 Bedouin are on the march, and the Turks are sending 30 machine gun batallions. In Copenhagen an outbreak of leprosy is reported. The victim is an Icelandic immigrant woman, and the treatment offered is isolation in her home. In Manchuria there is a plague. The European doctors are helpless, but were able to trace it back to marmot keepers. The natives are indifferent at first, but suddenly panic breaks out and thousands take to the road. The plague spreads lightning fast and takes a lot of lives.

In the early days of the season an interview with Oscar Mathisen is published. He wants the paper to announce that he’s not going to skate as an amateur this winter. Then they ask him:
–As a professional, then?
–This I cannot say exactly. Or rather: I cannot say anything about this.
–But you still plan to achieve great things in skating, don’t you?
–The Swedish skater Öholm, who returned from America this fall, is a professional, as you know. He has written to me about several skating matters.
–Presumably he wants you to promptly follow his example and become a professional? Possibly, he has proposed a skating duel against you?
–This winter?
–Next winter?
–And you will accept the challenge?
–Then you are going to become a professional after all?
–Yes and no. Please just write that I am not going to skate as an amateur. At least that is certain.

But on the first day of the new year we find him at Frogner. It’s snowy and stormy and Jacob Frang wins a 500m in 51.0. Oscar skates an exhibition 1000m, and looks like a snowman when he finishes in an unknown time.

The following Wednesday, Kristiania Idrætsforening, the main Kristiania rivals of Oscar’s club KSK, now with Magnus Johansen as a new member, arranges a mass start race over 10000m. Several hundred spectators witness the new home favourite winning the senior race in 20.11.0, with Stener Johannessen 1.6 seconds behind. The junior class was won by Trygve Aulie in 21.40,0, just 1/10 ahead of Einar Berntsen.

Around the same time, the architect Herman B. Schirmer published a sketch of his new railway plan for Kristiania, including a track hugging the waterfront to connect the east and west lines. The Catalonian nationalist and later republican prime minister Alejandro Lerroux y Garcia was injured in a Barcelona bombing, but survived. 148 norwegians in Hamburg sent the following to Riksmålsforbundet: Den Maatte, hvorpaa Landsmaalet nu forsøkes trumfet frem, tvinger alle Riksmaalets Venner til i samlet Flok at yde Motstand.
Vi undertegnede Nordmænd i Hamburg, som alene i Riksmaalets rene Bevarelse ser en sikret Bestaaen av Uttrykket for vor høieste Kultur, ønsker at bevidne Riksmaalsforeningen vor dype Sympati og Medinteresse og samtidig yde vort bidrag til dens Fond.
(845 Goldmarks were included as a contribution to Riksmålsforbundet.)

The following Sunday, the 8th, selection races for the national championship were arranged at Frogner. The races were attended by a 1000 spectators and a lot of participants: around 80 on the starting line. The meet didn’t end until 5PM, when it was dark as night, no doubt with empty stands. Evidently some artificial lighting was being used. The conditions were not optimal, and the newcomer Stener Johannessen won both distances in 2.44.4 and 9.45.6.

Roald AmundsenRobert Falcon ScottRobert PearyMeanwhile, Robert Peary submitted evidence of his North Pole discovery to the US Congress, who approved them and bestowed upon him the title of Rear Admiral. And Roald Amundsen, having made a 180 degree turn when the news of the discovery was broken to him, now had reached the Barrier at the Bay of Whales down in Antarctica, landing on the 14th. His human crew was intact, and his canine crew more than intact, having increased in number from 97 to 116 during the 6 months since their departure from Kristiansand. Ten days earlier, his rival Scott had set up his camp outside Ross Island, some 7-800km further west.

While Amundsen and the rest of his 9 man wintering team unpack their gear, the skating season picks up speed back home. There are meets in Horten, Kragerø, Skien, Notodden and Hamar, and no less than two senior meets in Kristiania. A letter-writer disapproves, opinionating that this kind of collisions will be harmful to the economies of the skating clubs. Evidently, KIF, Martinus Lørdal’s club, now strengthened with last year’s top inland skater apart from the now disqualified Mathisen, feels ready to challenge big brother KSK.

KIF arranged relay races over 10000m at Bislett. Mass start last week and now relays. Are we seeing the skating sport going to the dogs then? KIF’s first team won the relay in 18.38.5 with a team consisting of Aulie, Engebretsen and Berntsen. The conditions were good, and Johansen announced that he was going to make an attempt on Sigurd Mathisen’s national 10000m record, now almost 9 years old. His attempt was not successful, but he set a fine new rink record at 18.59.0. The 37 years old Karinius Larsen-Stai did a 5000m in 9.15.0, just 1.8 seconds behind his pb from the legendary Hamar championship in 1895 where Eden set his world record in the 10000m and a 1500m record which is still the world lowland record. These two are all the times we have from this Bislett meet, please tell if you have more.

At Frogner they finalised a series of points races, also serving as the club’s selection races for the national championship and for the international meet at Stockholm. Sigurd Mathisen makes his debut for the season and wins the 500m:

1.Sigurd Mathisen    47,0
2.Thoralf Thoresen   47,8 pb
3.Trygve Lundgreen   48,0 pb
Carsten Carlsen      48,0
5.Einar Staff.KIF    48,1 pb
6.Aksel Mathiesen    49,4 pb
7.Stener Johannessen 49,8
8.Olaf Hansen        50,2
9.Jacob Frang.KIF    52,0f

Magnus Herseth wins the junior 500m in a good time, but the 2nd place is closely contested:

1.Magnus Herseth    48,3 pb
2.Reidar Gundersen  49,7 pb
Ragnvald Mathiesen  49,7
4.Thoralf Hansen    49,8 pb
5.Einar Mathiesen   49,9 pb
Oscar Larsen        49,9 pb
7.Wilhelm Wolff     50,0 pb
8.Otto Haug         50,7 pb
9.Olaf Iversen      51,0 pb
Sigurd Syversen     51,0 pb
11.Yngvar Jacobsen  51,8 pb
12.Karl Gulbrandsen 52,0

Then there is a break, which the spectators have been watiting eagerly for, because Oscar Mathisen has announced an attempt on the 500m world record. He starts alone and with a hopeful-looking speed, but in the last outer he loses his footing and gives up. A few minutes later he starts again. The speed is overwhelming, but the record survives. The time 45.3 is a lowland record, however, 1/10 ahead of his time from the last meet of last season at Hamar.

Trygve Lundgreen won the 5000m ahead of Stener Johannessen, who improved his pb by almost half a minute, having started the season at 10.01.6, and emerges as a new top skater here.

1.Trygve Lundgreen   9.13,2 pb
2.Stener Johannessen 9.16,3 pb
3.Sigurd Mathisen    9.22,3
4.Olaf Hansen        9.30,0
5.Aksel Mathiesen    9.30,2 pb
6.Olaf Iversen       9.39,0 pb
7.Jakob Frang        9.44,2
8.Thoralf Thoresen   9.51,2 pb

Lundgreen and Mathisen were the meet winners with 4 points each. Lundgreen and Johannesen both had 11 points in the points races series, but here, Johannessen wins due to a slightly better total time and is selected for Stockholm. Mathisen, Lundgreen and Aksel Mathiesen joins him at the national championship.

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