Oscar Mathisen
Speedskating - Oscar Diary

Victory in the city match

Today’s top news, a hundred years ago: This year’s first coup d’etat in Haiti ended when the revolutionary leader, general Montreuil Guillaume was captured by the government forces and shot. In Jefferson City, Missouri, the state capitol was struck by lightning and destroyed by fire.

On the Antarctic continent, Scott had some problems with his first depot expedition, as with so many other things. He lay in his tent jotting down the following impressions:
The seductive folds of the sleeping bag.
The hiss of the primus and the fragrant steam of the cooker issuing from the tent ventilator.
The small green tent and the great white road.
The whine of a dog and the neigh of our steeds.
The driving cloud of powdered snow.
The crunch of footsteps which break the surface crust.
The wind-blown furrows.
The blue arch beneath the smoky cloud.
The crisp ring of the ponies’ hoofs and the swish of the following sledge.
The droning conversation of the march as driver encourages or chides his horse.
The patter of dog pads.
The gentle flutter of our canvas shelter.
Its deep booming sound under the full force of a blizzard.
The drift snow like finest flour penetrating every hole and corner—flickering up beneath one’s head covering, pricking sharply as a sand blast.
The sun with blurred image peeping shyly through the wreathing drift giving pale shadowless light.
The eternal silence of the great white desert. Cloudy columns of snow drift advancing from the south, pale yellow wraiths, heralding the coming storm, blotting out one by one the sharp-cut lines of the land.
The blizzard, Nature’s protest—the crevasse, Nature’s pitfall—that grim trap for the unwary—no hunter could conceal his snare so perfectly—the light rippled snow bridge gives no hint or sign of the hidden danger, its position unguessable till man or beast is floundering, clawing and struggling for foothold on the brink.
The vast silence broken only by the mellow sounds of the marching column.

In Kristiania the city-match continued with the 500 meter. Again the weather was benign, but the ice not quite as perfect as yesterday, whose sensational tidings drew thousands to the stands—easily ten thousand, probably fifteen. Another crowd-puller was the announcement that Oscar Mathisen was going to skate an exhibition 500m in the interval. Among the spectators one could find the Swedish ambassador Falkenberg, inspired by yesterday’s Swedish 5000m victory, eagerly spectating the match.

The first pair in the 500m featured yesterday’s surprise Paul Pettersson and the Norwegian champion Henning Olsen, who dominated the race from the start and won by 50 meters. The applause was deafening. In the 2nd pair, Sigurd Mathisen managed to beat Otto Andersson narrowly. The applause was overwhelming. Then Trygve Lundgreen met Josef Pettersson and surpassed all expectations beating his opponent by more than a second. Everything drowned in a sea of patriotic fervour. It didn’t matter so much that Johannessen, evidently not in the kind of shape he had displayed earlier in the season, was beaten by Jean Pettersson in the last pair.


1.Henning Olsen      46,2 pb
2.Sigurd Mathisen    46,8
3.Otto Andersson     47,2 pb
4.Jean Pettersson    48,4 eq.pb, lowland pb
5.Trygve Lundgreen   48,6
6.Josef N Pettersson 49,8 pb
7.Stener Johannessen 50,0
8.Paul Pettersson    50,2 pb

Points: Kristiania 8, Stockholm 13, sum: Kristiania 20, Stockholm 22.

Then it was time for the exhibition race of Oscar Mathisen. He set out to do what his rival from last year had done yesterday, and went for the world record. The pace and the daring approach to the curves were such as you had learned to expect from Oscar. And the time was 45,0. No world record. It was a rink record and below the national record, but this could never stand as long as his amateurhood was being withheld. However, it was a new lowland world record. The former one being from his last exhibition race here, three weeks ago.

The exhibition was followed by the 1500m, with Olsen and Andersson in the first pair. The Swede won the pair with a fine time, 2.28,6. Olsen lost a lot of ground in the last lap. But in the 2nd pair, Sigurd Mathisen beat Jean Pettersson, finishing just behind Olsen, so that the distance points now were equal. In the third pair, Lundgreen gave Josef Pettersson a similar treatment, and as both skaters fitted in between the skaters in the former pair, the points were now 9-12 in favour of the Kristiania club. Still, the Swedes could win the match if yesterday’s 5000m winner in the last pair could beat Henning Olsen, or if not, beat Mathisen as long as Johannessen could not beat Josef Pettersson. Again Johannessen failed to show his best form, and Pettersson beat him by 3 seconds. The ones in the audience not provided with clocks now had an anxious wait until the times were announced. But apparently, Paul P had exerted himself too much in yesterday’s fine race, or possibly he misjudged his pace due to the slowness of his pairmate (perhaps tactical), and he finished behind all the others. Thus Kristiania won the cup outright for the second time, and the skaters were praised copiously by the crowd for their achievements. The Swedes werre hurrahed and the Norwegians were hurrahed even more, the national anthems were played and heads bared.


1.Otto Andersson     2.28,6 pb
2.Henning Olsen      2.32,8
3.Sigurd Mathisen    2.33,0
4.Trygve Lundgreen   2.33,4 pb
5.Josef N Pettersson 2.35,2 pb
6.Jean Pettersson    2.35,4 lowland pb
7.Paul Pettersson    2.36,4 pb
8.Stener Johannessen 2.39,4

Points: Kristiania 9, Stockholm 12, sum: Kristiania 29, Stockholm 34.

The meet was concluded with a 2500m handicap race, won by Ejnar Sørensen with Olaf Hansen finishing second. Two of the Swedish Petterssons started from scratch. One of them quit, and the other was bypassed.

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