Oscar Mathisen
Speedskating - Oscar Diary

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A hundred years ago today, Roald Amundsen was on his way to his first depot site along with Kristian Prestrud, Helmer Hansen and Hjalmar Johansen. Although a Sunday, they didn’t rest today. Rather they drove 40km instead of the 28 they had planned for the day, in spite of being encumbered with a thick fog all along. They were lightly dressed due to the unusually high temperature, only 10 centigrades below, and they named the long hill they were climbing Underbuksebakken—that is “Underpants Hill”. Some of the men actually slept with their socks off inside their sleeping bags this night.

For Scott a little further west the weather conditions were better, though cloudy and particularly dark in the south with heavy snow clouds. During the day his party marched 16km. The poorest ponies slowed them down, especially the one driven by Evans, Blossom. Her hooves were smaller, and she often broke through the crust, got tired and lagged behind. They set up camp close to 79°S and took exact bearings, as they planned to lay down a depot there. Scott decided to send the three weakest ponies back with their drivers before the rest of the party were to go on south the next day.

In Kristiania it was cloudy, too, but calm, and the ice conditions at the international meet in Frogner still were good. The trek of spectators could compare with the great days of Oscar Mathisen: 7-8000 paying and at least as many on “Gratishaugen” (the freeview hill) and other viewpoints around the track. And the atmosphere on the stands was special. Amongst the spectators were Thomas Bohrer, who arrived by train in the morning, too late to enter the competitions. He promised Strunnikov a fight for his titles, and hinted that he’d like to pick a hen with the Russian.

The 1500m started nicely with Engebretsen and Thoresen, who both improved their pbs substantially with 2.33,0 and 2.37,5, which promised well. In the 2nd pair, Sæterhaug outskated Oscar’s brother Sigurd and clocked a fine time, 2.27,4, a mere second behind the old national record of his clubmate Østlund that he’d been so close to beating a couple of times before. Sigurd set a new lowland pb with 2.31,2. In the next pair, the Dane Sørensen beat Olaf Hansen with a good margin, profusely applauded by the audience, who had taken the Dane to their hearts just like they did with Stille half a century later. His time 2.33,1 was a new national record.

Then Strunnikov and the Norwegian champion Olsen were ready on the line, apparently with the Russian in the inner lane. The pace they set up surpassed anything seen on Frogner before and Olsen’s brave fight lap by lap brought the audience out in ecstasy. Only at the last back straight where the Russian relentlessly pulled away the fight was finally over. But the final times were phenomenal: 2.23,8—more than a second and a half below Eden’s 16 years old lowland record—and 2.25,0, the 2nd best lowland time ever and almost a second and a half below the nearly as old national record of Østlund, which had withstood several good attempts by Oscar and his rivals in recent years. The speaker had his hands full hushing down the spectators before the next pair.

In the 5th pair, Lundgreen outskated Johannessen and set a fine new pb in 2.30,0. Then Johansen gave the Dutchman Taconis a lesson and equalled his pb from Davos: 2.28,6. In the last pair, Staff skated alone in 2.39,2. Results:

1.Nikolaj Strunnikov      2.23,8 pb, lowland world record
2.Henning Olsen.KSK       2.25,0 pb, national record
3.Martin Sæterhaug.TSK    2.27,4
4.Magnus Johansen.KSK     2.28,6 lowland pb, equalling pb
5.Trygve Lundgreen.KSK    2.30,0 pb
6.Sigurd Mathisen.KSK     2.31,2 lowland pb
7.Ludvig Engebretsen.KIF  2.33,0 pb
8.Ejnar Sørensen          2.33,1 pb, Danish record
9.Stener Johannessen.KSK  2.35,0
10.Olaf Hansen.KSK        2.37,0 pb
11.Thoralf Thoresen.KSK   2.37,5 pb
12.Einar Staff.KIF        2.39,2
13.Wynout Hendrik Taconis 2.42,2 lowland pb


1.Nikolaj Strunnikov       3
2.Henning Olsen.KSK        9
3.Trygve Lundgreen.KSK    13
Martin Sæterhaug.TSK      13
5.Sigurd Mathisen.KSK     14
6.Magnus Johansen.KSK     15
7.Stener Johannessen.KSK  21
Olaf Hansen.KSK           21
9.Wynout Hendrik Taconis  26

In the break the juniors skated their 500m and there was some figure skating too. The winning time of Herseth, 47,1, is said to be a junior record.

1.Magnus Herseth.KSK     47,1 pb
2.Einar Berntsen.KIF     47,6 pb
3.Reidar Gundersen.KSK   47,8 pb
Ragnvald Mathiesen.KSK   47,8 pb
5.Gunerius Schou.KSK     48,5 pb
6.Albert Berglund        48,6 pb
7.Olaf Iversen.KSK       49,0 pb
Jonas Syversen.KSK       49,0 pb
9.Trygve Aulie.KSK       49,1 pb
Einar Mathiesen.KSK      49,1
11.Oscar Larsen.KSK      49,8 pb
Carl-August Elfversson   49,8 pb
13.Hans Brandt.KIF       50,4 pb
14.Wilhelm Wolff.KSK     50,6
15.Johan Evensen.Falken  51,1 pb
16.Wilhelm Bertelsen.KIF 51,4 pb
17.Birger Heffermehl.KIF 51,9 pb
18.Wilhelm Pahle.Moss IF 52,2
19.Thoralf Hansen.KSK    52,8f
20.Yngvar Jacobsen.KIF   53,2
21.Einar Aarum.KSK       54,1

Taconis and Engebretsen formed the first pair of the 5000m, and the KIF skater set up a brisk pace at first to shake off the Dutchman, gaining a 4 second lead at 1400m. But then the laptimes rose to a more normal 45-46 level, and Taconis gained slowly lap by lap. From 2600m they were side by side, and now followed a fierce battle for the lead. In the next to last lap, Engebretsen (probably) had the back of his pairmate in view and set in an attack, gaining a 5 meter lead at the bell. But the dogged Dutchman had the advantage of the last inner lane and hauled in meter by meter through the last lap. At the line they clocked the same time, pbs with good margins for both, and no judge was able to separate them.

64-1.47-2.29-3.14-4.00-4.46-5.32-6.17-7.04-7.50-8.37  -9.23,2

After this refreshing little appetiser the table was set for today’s main course—our best long distances skater Johansen against the record man Strunnikov, whose record might not be approved after all, as it wasn’t set in an “official race”. But the ice apparently was still very good, giving him the opportunity to make the record official after all, despite having a tough 1500m race from today and a 10000m race from yesterday on his back. As the Hamar track during Eden’s race was 500m, any splittime comparison would be pointless, but the times from the 8.37,2 race might serve: 61-1.40-2.20-3.00-3.41-4.23-5,05-5.47-6.29-7.12-7.55-8.37,2

These figures demonstrate that Shilkov wasn’t the first Russian to skate the 5000m as a middle distance. But the present Russian chose a more moderate opening this time, hoping to finish better perhaps. Johansen followed, but a couple of 40 laps scared him off, and Stunnikov won himself a lead that increased slowly until it reached 2 seconds, and then faster. He stayed 4-5 seconds behind his record race and tried his best to reduce the deficit, but failed. Still, 8.42,9 was an excellent time, only Eden, Halvorsen, Oscar and himself had skated faster.

64-1.44  -2.24-3.05  -3.46-4.27-5.09-5.51-6.33-7.16-8.00-8.42,9

In the third pair, Lundgreen met Sigurd Mathisen. True to his habit, Sigurd opened like a madman and pulled his pairmate along, giving them at 1000m a couple of seconds lead on Strunnikov. But then it normalised, Lundgreen took over the lead and fell behind Johansen as well as the Russian, though not far behind, and towards the end he still was in for a chance of breaking the 9 minute limit. Maybe someone made him aware of it, at least he did put in a good last lap, but was a few tenths too late in the end.

63-1.42-2.24-3.07-3.51-4.35  -5.20-6.04-6.49-7.33-8.17-9.00,3

Time for some beef broth. Staff and Thoresen weren’t the fastest of skaters, but the fight for the lead was interesting enough from start to finish. The KSK skater took the lead after a couple of laps and kept it in spite of repeated attacks from the KIF man. He improved his pb, too.

69-1.54-2.40-3.26-4.12-4.59-5.46-6.33-7.21  -8.09-8.56,5-9.42,3

Sæterhaug and Johannessen in the following pair didn’t set up any record pace themselves, rather they skated level, reasonable races with the Trønder in front, without impressing exceedingly.

65-1.47-2.32-3.15-3.59-4.44-5.28-6.13-6.57-7.42  -8.26,5-9.11,2
65,5-1.48-2.34-3.17-4.02-4.46,5-5.33-6.20-7.06-7.49,5-8.33  -9.16,0

Olsen though made a honest attempt to follow the pace of Strunnikov. He opened faster in his pair with Hansen, but then slowed down to 43 and 44, and he was behind from 1400m. He gave up and rose to the 46 level, but possibly fearing to fall behind Sigurd Mathisen he pulled out some more pace in the final lap.


In the last pair the Dane Sørensen skated a fine race alone, drawing a huge applause. He followed the splittimes of Olsen almost suspiciously well.


His time was a new Danish record and it took him up to 31th place in Adelskalenderen.


1.Nikolaj Strunnikov     8.42,9
2.Magnus Johansen        8.55,6
3.Trygve Lundgreen       9.00,3 pb
4.Henning Olsen          9.06,8
5.Ejnar Sørensen         9.08,5 pb, DR
6.Sigurd Mathisen        9.09,0
7.Martin Sæterhaug       9.11,2
8.Stener Johannessen     9.16,0
9.Olaf Hansen            9.16,8
10.Ludvig Engebretsen    9.23,2 pb
Wynout Hendrik Taconis   9.23,2 pb
12.Thoralf Thoresen      9.42,3 pb
13.Einar Staff           9.43,5

Total points:

1.Nikolaj Strunnikov       4
2.Henning Olsen           13
3.Trygve Lundgreen        16
4.Magnus Johansen         17
5.Sigurd Mathisen         19
Martin Sæterhaug          19
7.Olaf Hansen             29
8.Stener Johannessen      28
9.Wynout Hendrik Taconis  35

In Helsingfors the Finnish Championship continued with the 500m. The debutant Tuomainen won it along with Lihr and sensationally took the overall lead.


1.Arvo Tuomainen      47,6 pb
Aksel Lihr            47,6 pb
3.Johan Vikander      47,7
4.Väinö Wickström     47,8
5.B Österlund         48,7 pb
6.Gunnar Strömstén    49,1
7.Antti Wiklund       49,4
8.E Lindman           49,8
9.Axel Lindholm       50,0 pb
Alexander Bäckström   50,0
Karl Vitto            50,0 pb
12.Ilmari Danska      50,2 pb
13.Waldemar Bergström 50,4 pb
14.Alfred Strömstén   50,8 pb
15.Werner Björk       51,8 pb
Gösta Spennert        f, dnf


1.Arvo Tuomainen      3.5
2.Väinö Wickström     5
3.Aksel Lihr          6.5
4.Gunnar Strömstén   10
5.Johan Vikander     11
6.Antti Wiklund      13
7.Waldemar Bergström 16
8.B Österlund        17
Axel Lindholm        17
10.E Lindman         21
Alexander Bäckström  21
12.Alfred Strömstén  24
Werner Björk         24
14.Karl Vitto        25
15.Ilmari Danska     26

But in the 1500m Wickström and Tuomainen probably met head to head, and here, experience got the upper hand. Lihr also came around and helped Wickström to his title.

1500 m:

1.Wickström    2.33,6
2.Lihr         2.34,3 pb
3.Tuomainen    2.35,1 pb
4.Lindholm     2.37,7 pb
Vikander       2.37,7
6.G Strömstén  2.38,3
7.Wiklund      2.40,3
8.Bergström    2.40,6 pb
9.Lindman      2.43,3
10.Spennert    2.44,0
11.Österlund   2.44,3 pb
12.Bäckström   2.45,5
13.Vitto       2.45,7 pb
14.Björk       2.45,8 pb
15.A Strömstén 2.46,1 pb
16.Danska      2.46,5 pb

Total points:

1.Väinö Wickström.HSK       6
2.Arvo Tuomainen.Pyrintö    6.5
3.Aksel Lihr.Joensuu        8.5
4.Johan Vikander.HSK       15.5
5.Gunnar Strömstén.HSK     16
6.Antti Wiklund.Wiborg     20
7.Axel Lindholm.HSK        21.5
8.Waldemar Bergström.HSK   24
9.B Österlund              27
10.E Lindman               30
11.Alexander Bäckström.Åbo 32
12.Werner Björk            37
Karl Vitto.Hanko           37
14.Alfred Strömstén.HSK    38
15.Ilmari Danska.HSK       41

With Wiklund as a beacon the skaters outside Helsingfors really have started making an impact. Or is it just a sign of weakness from the HSK skaters?

At Västerås the Swedes concluded their national championship. Here the outcome was not in doubt, and Andersson won the 1500m, his third distance, again with little resistance. Petrus Axelson and David Pettersson were evidently paired, as they are ranked differently.

1.Otto Andersson     2.35,0
2.Jean Pettersson    2.39,6
3.Paul Pettersson    2.40,0
4.Petrus Axelson     2.41,6 pb
5.David Pettersson   2.41,6 pb
6.Sigvard Anell      2.47,8 pb
7.T Johansson        2.49,6 pb
8.David Hulterström  2.51,0 pb
9.G Asplund          2.51,4 pb
Fredrik Södergren    2.51,4 pb
11.E Grandell        2.59,8 pb
12.Ax Pettersson     3.01,2 pb
ooc Birger Carlsson  2.47,0


1.Andersson         3
2.Paul Pettersson   8
3.Jean Pettersson   9
4.Axelson          11
5.Anell            17
6.T Johansson      20
David Pettersson   20
Hulterström        25
9.Asplund          26.5
10.Södergren       27
11.Grandell        31.5
12.Ax Pettersson   36

And the clearance between Andersson and the rest did not get appreciably smaller in the 10000m either. The times weren’t sensational here, but the qualities of the champion’s races seem to give good hopes for the two championships in Norway the coming weeks.


1.Andersson         19.30,0
2.Paul Pettersson   19.44,8
3.Axelson           19.45,0 pb
4.David Pettersson  19.53,6 pb
5.Jean Pettersson   20.09,2
6.Anell             20.33,2 pb
7.Södergren         20.35,2 pb
8.T Johansson       20.43,8 pb
9.Asplund           21.23,2 pb
10.Ax Pettersson    22.37,8 pb
ooc Birger Carlsson 20.40,6

And the final points:

1.Otto Andersson.IFK Nyköping       4
2.Paul Pettersson.SASK             10
3.Petrus Axelson.Tranås AIF        14
Jean Pettersson.Södermalms IK      14
5.T Johansson.IF Start             21
6.David Pettersson.GUIF Eskilstuna 22
7.Sigvard Anell.IF Start           23
8.Fredrik Södergren.IFK Nyköping   31.5
9.G Asplund.IFK Västerås           32.5
10.Ax Pettersson.Västerås SK       41

On the Øyeren lake, Båstad Ungdomslag arranged a meet for locals, where Kr. Spjutvik from Trøgstad won the 500m in 58,0 and A. Brøtmet from Høland the 2000 m in 4.12,2, which is perhaps still the track record in the distance. But the ladies were invited, too. They skated a 500m, and here, Anna Muggeby from Båstad set a NEW WORLD RECORD with 84,4. The former record was the 85,0 of Konstanse Pedersen reported on Jan. 19 this year. Maybe it’s time for ladies to get speedy as well?

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