Oscar Mathisen
Speedskating - Oscar Diary

Both titles defended

The Last Free Man by Dayton O. Hyde, describing the mentioned massacreA hundred years ago today, a posse of Nevada ranchers committed the last armed massacre of Indians to date when they killed 8 out of a band of 12 lead by Shoshone Mike, who had killed 4 ranchers in Washoe County. Three adult men, two women, two male adolescents and three children were the victims in addition to Ed Hogle of the posse. The 4 survivors, a woman and three children, were captured. One of the children survived until 1992. Some of the Indians only had bows and arrows to defend themselves with.

Way down in the Antarctic, Scott was on his way to Corner Camp, his 79° depot. The going was tough and men and animals were tired. They rested after just 5km, and Scott notes that he thinks the men are too lazy and need some upbraiding. After 5 kms more they reached the depot and started unloading. Scott left them to it and returned to home camp along with Cherry-Garrard and Crean. The others were to return in a slow party with James Pigg, who had hampered the expedition on the way south. The three forerunners had travelled 23 kilometers when they went to rest for the day.

Amundsen was on his way to his 80° depot in cold, windy and foggy weather like the day before. Oddly enough they had used dried fish to mark the path on their way home last time, and this now came in handy, both in pathfinding and as extra fodder. They had to make sure the dogs didn’t find them first, though, otherwise wild dogfights would result. The animals began to show signs of tiredness. They were stiff-legged in the mornings and difficult to get under way. The cold was partly to blame, perhaps, down to ‐27°C today, but possibly they might have loaded too much on the sledges as well.

In Trøndelag the weater had stabilised remarkably, with brilliant sunshine, some few degrees below freezing. Only the wind bothered a little. The ice was excellent, and the stands packed. According to various reports, 5 to 7 thousand tickets were sold, and some 9000 in total were attending. Adresseavisa publish the following draw: Strunnikov-Bohrer, Andersson-Sæterhaug, Olsen-Monsen, Lundgreen-Kr. Fyhn, Johannessen-I. Fyhn, Sørensen-Jacob Sæterhaug, Taconis-Jensen, but evidently this is the set-up before the draw, the actual sequence of the pairs must have been different, not to mention the absence of the Fladaas-Thoresen pair. The races this Sunday started at 12:15.

The Taconis-Jensen pair as before wasn’t that exciting with both clocking times over 2.40, but the Hamar skater set a pb and the Dutchman a lowland pb, promising well for good times. Sørensen the Dane beat Sæterhaug the younger, who set another pb. Johannessen beat Ivar Fyhn by close to a 100 meters, and here both skaters improved their pbs. Ever more promising. Lundgreen gave the other Fyhn a similar treatment with his 2.31,0, a good race and best time of the mentioned so far. Fladaas had shown remarkable progress during the championship and pb’ed as well with 2.36,0. Olsen skated another good race and finished well ahead of Monsen. The time, 2.29,7, was good, but good enough? Monsen, the Olympian, also improved his pb.

Andersson, the third prize winner overall from Hamar, disappointed over his 5000m, was determined to recover his lost ground. But in the opposite track stood Sæterhaug, the hero of the Trønders, who had beaten him yesterday and apparently had prepared well for the championship. Clearly a hard nut to crack, with his reputation as a strong fighter. And the 2-3 minutes that followed were to resound in the memories of the Trøndish sport fandom for generations. The speed was maximal from the start, full force, and neither of the pair was prepared to yield an inch to the opponent. Perhaps one of them lead by a meter or two coming from the inner, but just as regularly the other fought back over the finishing straight to draw even at the line. No indication of an eventual outcome could be perceived until the last straight, where Andersson, unable to set in his usual strong finish, faltered a little with a couple of slight slips, signs of tiring no doubt. N’Martin beat him by 3/10 and equalled his lowland pb with 2.26,6, which also equalled the track record. Not an easy job to hush down the audience after a pair like that. This race alone had given them good value for their entrance money. The Swede had skated the 1500m of his life, too, beating his pb from Frogner by 1.7 seconds.

Strunnikov and Bohrer clashed for the third time this championship, and once again the Austrian was the quicker from the start. He lead at the 300 and the 700m split, but then the Russian relentlessly left him behind, to finish nearly 50 meters ahead. His time 2.26,0 was good enough for a win, also setting a new rink record, and thus he had defended his World Championship. The Russian flag went up, the national anthem was played and the champion lifted on strong arms to sit high, greatly cheered by the masses.
Strunnikov on Peder Østlund’s strong shoulders, Motzfeldt to the right


1.Nikolaj Strunnikov      2.26,0 RR
2.Martin Sæterhaug        2.26,6 eq. lowland pb
3.Otto Andersson          2.26,9 pb
4.Henning Olsen           2.29,7
5.Thomas Bohrer           2.30,5
6.Trygve Lundgreen        2.31,0
7.Stener Johannessen      2.32,4 pb
8.Johannes Fladaas        2.36,0 pb
Ejnar Sørensen            2.36,0
10.Otto Monsen            2.37,3 pb
11.Sigurd Jensen          2.40,3 pb
12.Jacob Sæterhaug        2.40,4 pb
13.Kristian Fyhn          2.40,5
14.Thoralf Thoresen       2.41,3
15.Ivar Fyhn              2.41,7 pb
16.Wynout Hendrik Taconis 2.41,8 lowland pb


1.Strunnikov    3 points
2.Sæterhaug    10 (+1)
3.Bohrer       12 (-1)
Olsen          12
5.Andersson    13
6.Lundgreen    16 (-1)
7.Johannessen  24
8.Fladaas      25,5 (-1)
9.Sørensen     28.5
10.Monsen      31
11.J Sæterhaug 34
12.K Fyhn      35.5
13.I Fyhn      37.5
14.Jensen      38 (+1)
15.Taconis     40 (-1)

They showed figure skating in the break as usual, with the singles doing their self-chosen events, followed by pairs skating. But the pairs barely had started with the 10000m began, and continued some way into it. A “very fortunate arrangement, providing some distraction during the somewhat tedious races in this long distance”, as the report puts it. After all, having the 10000 as the last distance was somewhat unusual in those years. Habitually they hid it away on the Saturdays, when most people were at work.

The first pair was a bit long-drawn indeed, though Andersson did make a fast start in order to shake off Sørensen, in which he succeeded. But he must have been tired after his tough 1500 meter and soon realised that 46-47 laps were the right choice here. In the last half, Sørensen put in a couple of 45 laps and closed the gap somewhat, but found it too taxing and gave it up. With the final time of 19.11,7, Andersson must have realised that the struggle for the top spots overall was over for now.


The second pair featured Johannessen in the inner lane against Bohrer. They opened more moderately than Andersson, but then kept a good and level 44 pace, side by side the first laps, with the one coming from the inner in a slight lead, as is commonplace. The duel looked promising from the spectator’s point of view. But then in the 7th lap the young Norwegian slipped and nearly lost his footing entirely. Immediately he lost 50 meters. He tried to repair the damage with a 45 lap, but when his opponent contered with a 44, he gave up. His side ached and he may have strained a muscle. The gap increased towards the finish line, though Bohrer also rose to the 46 level. But his last lap was fast, a 42, and it seems he might have done better with a little more competition. The final time of 18.50,0 looked a little insufficient in the contest with Olsen for the 3rd place, not to mention Sæterhaug’ second. Times would tell.


Strunnikov and Lundgreen ready to startNow, Strunnikov and Lundgreen were ready on the starting line, both with their most deathly serious fighting faces on. Having had Strunnikov at only a couple of seconds range yesterday had convinced the young Norwegian that the Russian ought to be beatable after all, and that he might be the man to undo him. His thoughts were written upon his face as vivid as if they had been printed in thick black ink, and Strunnikov, reading them with no difficulty, intended to defend his reputation with all possible effort, even though the championship was secure already.

The opener was fast, 45, with the champion ahead in the outer lane. Racing through the curve he tried to haul in his opponent on the back straight, but the Norwegian kept speeding ahead, aware of the danger, and at the 2nd split, the difference was the same, the laptime a super-fast 41. Now it was Lundgreen’s turn to see his opponent’s back, and he used it well. Halfway into the curve they were side by side, and at the split he was well ahead. Those with clocks on the stands pointed and gestured dramatically. Laptime 40! The cheer was overwhelming. At the back straight the gap now was 30-35 meters and Lundgreen showed no sign of relaxing. The lap was 42. Still world record pace. The crowd cheered him on and the youngster obliged willingly. Another 42 lap and Strunnikov was falling behind—30 meters at the split now.

But there were more level-headed individuals among the crowd who feared the Russian was making the best moves after all. This wild pace was just crazy, passing the 1500m in 2.35, just 4 seconds behind his actual 1500 earlier today. Total madness. And Lundgreen did start to feel the cost now, slowing to 43. The gap was the same. Then it started to close. Strunnikov’s strides were getting longer and more forceful—13 meters now. Next split the laptime was 44 with the Russian visibly closer. He saw his chance, sped through the inner curve and managed to cross ahead. But Lundgreen adjusted his pace, and at the next split he still was 10 meters in front. Laptime 43—Strunnikov 42! Still a murderous pace.

But now the young hero really was beginning to feel the pace. On the back straight the Russian gained on him clearly for each stride, and at the next split he was well ahead. Two more laps Lundgreen still managed to keep pace, but then he had to let go, and the gap started widening. Strunnikov now went up to 44s and 45s, and lost sight of the world record. Lundgreen did 46s, but near the end someone shouted that he was in danger of losing the national record too, and with two 45s and a desperate 42,2 last lap he took the record and received his well deserved praise along with the world champion.


The experienced home favourite Martin Sæterhaug and the young national champion Henning Olsen were a graceful sight in the fourth pair according to the reports. They had no intent of following the opening pace of the former pair. Their target was to beat Bohrer’s time to secure the most meritable prizes apart from those of the champion. Side by side they skated a few laps in a suitable 44 tempo. Then Martin, relying on his 2 points advantage, allowed young Olsen to draw away.

Olsen kept a slightly wobbly pace of around 45 and stayed behind Bohrer at first, but at 4400m he was equal and then started picking seconds one by one. It was beginning to look like Lundgreen could be within reach as well, and if so, Sæterhaug’s 2nd place overall was in danger if he stayed behind Bohrer.

Both skaters kept the same pace now, and the Trønder closed in on the splits of Bohrer a second per lap until he was one ahead at 6800m, increasing to 2, to 4, to 5, where it remained. That should suffice, he must have thought. At the last split he was 4 ahead.

But was he aware of the Austrian’s last lap of 42? Evidently not, for there was no sign of any final effort. Possibly, judging the distance to Olsen, he deemed his 2nd prize safe. But people with watches on the stands were getting nervous. “Skynd dæ, Martin!” someone called. “Du når det itj!”

He did make it, though, by the slimmest possible margin at 18.49,9, thus securing TSK’s anniversary cup that they had set up as 2nd prize in the championship. 3rd prize went to Olsen, who skated his first really good 10000, set a pb at 18.39,9 and climbed to 9th place in Adelskalenderen.


In the fifth and last pair, Taconis (evidently starting in the inner track) opened in a high pace, trying to shake off the TSK skater Fladaas with a 42 second lap, gaining 20 meters or so, but the Trønder, skating his first 10000m, soon caught up again and took over the lead in the 5th lap. The Dutchman attacked again with a 44 lap, gaining an advantage that he retained for the next few laps. But the pace now was moderate, and in the 13th lap, the TSK skater attempted another attack. The pair of them fought for the lead the next laps and in the 16th lap, Fladaas was able to lead at the split in the outer lane. He skated into the back of his opponent on the back straight, and two fast inner curves gave him a 30 meters lead. (A method thus named but not invented by Kuppern.) Towards the finish the gap increased steadily and he crossed the line at 19.42,2, which gave him an Adelskalender debut at 73rd place.



1.Nikolaj Strunnikov      18.13,0 RR
2.Trygve Lundgreen        18.29,2 NR pb
3.Henning Olsen           18.39,9 pb
4.Martin Sæterhaug        18.49,9 lowland pb
5.Thomas Bohrer           18.50,0
6.Otto Andersson          19.11,7
7.Stener Johannessen      19.13,5
8.Ejnar Sørensen          19.26,4
9.Johannes Fladaas        19.42,2 pb
10.Wynout Hendrik Taconis 19.55,1

Total points

1.Nikolaj Strunnikov.Russia           4
2.Martin Sæterhaug.Norway             14
3.Henning Olsen.Norway                15
4.Thomas Bohrer.Austria               17 (209,227) (-1)
5.Trygve Lundgreen.Norway             17 (210,913) (+1)
6.Otto Andersson.Sweden               19 (-1)
7.Stener Johannessen.Norway           28
8.Johannes Fladaas.Norway             32,5
9.Ejnar Sørensen.Denmark              33,5
10.Wynout Hendrik Taconis.Netherlands 40 (+5)

There followed a ceremony with the presentation of a laurel wreath, a championship medal and the King’s Cup to Strunnikov, who skated a lap of honour before the noisy crowd. Further awards were given at a lively party in the Free Masons Lodge, attended by 220, including all the skaters. The top 5 overall were given honorary awards, and distance medals were given for positions 1-5 in the distances: small gold medals, big silver medals, small silver medals, big bronze medals and small bronze medals. The Ladies’ prize for best junior skater went to Jacob Sæterhaug, while his big brother received the Ladies’ cup for best Trønder skater. In addition to the other prizes he was given, the King’s Cup and the big gold medal, Strunnikov also received record medals for his two rink record on Sunday. Lundgreen got a medal for his national record and Sørensen and Taconis were given memorial medals for adding colour to the championship. Afterwards the dance went on far into the night.

Norsk Idrætsblad prints this homage to Strunnikov: “A very long time will pass before we will see again a world championship won in such superior style with four straight wins. Strunnikov’s races are always characterised by a dominant confidence which must instill the deepest respect in all who witness them. You get the impression that this man posesses the most intimate knowledge of every muscle and nerve in his body. His races bear witness to the most meticulous training, not only over the distance that suits him best, but over all of them. Each in its turn. Not only has he learned to exploit his strides in the straights in the most advantageous manner—long, precisely measured and almost parallel strides with only slight body movement, which still helps his progress through an elastic bending forward, but he has also thought out the way to proceed through a curve without losing any speed; rather he increases it through the curve. This is a lot of praise. But we think the man deserves it. And it would be desirable if our own skaters would learn to take the sport as seriously and thoroughly as Strunnikov has been doing. Not by blindly imitating him. What suits one well may be cumbrous from the viewpoint of another, yes, maybe even harmful.”

Parenthetically we take the time to add some notes about a national race arranged by the rink committee in Horten in windy weather on an ice bumpy and uneven after days of thaw and snowfall. The town still had no skating club, but the activity was considerable. The little boys tried their skates as soon as the street puddles froze over in the fall, taking on the identities of various national and international champions. In Horten, too, there was an enthusiast who drove the activity and rink plans forward, lieutenant Thommessen, who also was to become a guiding star after the club was formed in March the same year.

The times weren’t especially impressive. Jacob Frang, now a KIF skater, won both 500 and 1500m in 51,0 and 2.45,0, while the home skater Ole Kristian Kristiansen took the 5000m with 10.08,6 and was awarded Consul (don’t think this guy has the functions of a modern consul) C. Andersen’s prize for best Horten skater. In the junior class, Wilhelm Wolff from KSK won the 500m in 52,8 while Arnulf Hvidsten from Horten won the 1500m in 2.52,0. With this, Hvidsten won his 2nd share in goldsmith Erichsen’s Cup.

However, the public interest in all those races was somewhat overshadowed by the outside competition races by the invited guest of honour, who himself might possibly ponder a reply to Norsk Idrætsblad’s prediction about the amount of time that would pass before a world championship were to be won in such a superior style with four straight wins—Mr. Oscar Mathisen, who here achieved the times 47,8, 2.33,0 and 9.46,1—the latter the only 5000m time known to his name this season.

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