Oscar Mathisen
Speedskating - Oscar Diary

Spring races in Stockholm

Ernest RutherfordLatest news a 100 years ago this week: Tuesday: Ernest Rutherford submits the article giving evidence that nearly all of an atom’s mass is concentrated in a tiny nucleus occupying merely a quadrillionth of the atomic volume. Meanwhile, President Taft of the USA assures his Mexican colleague Diaz that there is no reason to perceive the huge troop manoeuvres and warship concentrations in and around the Gulf as a threat to the neighbouring nation. Thursday: The small town Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin, having grown up around the works of Laffin Rand Powder Company, is levelled in an explosion with 40 inhabitants killed. Also the same week, snow depth in Yosemite National Park is measured to 11 meters, still a national record for the United States.

On Monday (and not the week before the World Championship as mentioned earlier), 800 rebels lead by Francisco Madero attacked Casas Grandes in the Chihuahua province of Mexico. A 100 years ago it was a village of 500 inhabitants, now augmented by some 513 government troops of the 18th batallion, lead by Colonel Agustin A. Valdez. Madero signalled for the attack at 5 o’clock in the morning, and initially things went according to plan. But a quarter past 7, Valdez was reinforced with 562 soldiers and two mortars under the leadership of Colonel Samuel Garcia Cuellar. The rebels withdrew with considerable losses, 58 killed and 41 captured, also leaving behind 153 mules, 150 horses and 101 rifles. Madero himself was injured and from now on left command in the field to others. The main reason for the defeat seems to be that his scouts had been captured and killed, thus he got no warning of the reinforcements. The defenders had losses too, 37 killed and 60 wounded. The number of weeping widows, fatherless children and unconsolable parents they left behind is not reported.

Emiliano Zapata.On Friday, a meeting of revolutionaries was held at Cuautla, a town in the Morelos province in southern Mexico. The ones present were Torres Burgos, Rafael Merino and Emiliano Zapata, the young elected council president of the village Anenecuilho, who had been working hard to secure the rights of his fellow villagers agaist the hacienda owners, sometimes with rough methods. They discussed whether it was time to start the revolution full force. Zapata said no, they were too divided and disorganised. He thought they were not ready. But he was overruled.

The next significant battle was some weeks off yet, but a hundred years ago today, another band of rebels attacked Agua Prieta in the Sonora state, just south of the border with the USA. Again the rebels were chased by the government troops.

Down in the Antarctic, Scott and his crew on Monday arrived back at main camp after their rather misadventurous depot drive. On Tuesday they found seals one a floe and spent some time replenishing their stores. On Wednesday, Evans, Meares, Keohane, Atkinson and Gran went out to bring back the provisions they had left behind last week when the ice broke up. They were back on Saturday and had enjoyed their outing tremendously. Preparations for wintering were proceeding. The blubber oven was continually being improved, and the explorers learned to enjoy food fried in blubber. The atmosphere in the house got ever more homely.

Amundsen still was southbound on his 2nd depot drive and on Monday he and his men found out to their displeasure what all those small haystack-like formations were all about. They had built up due to pressure, and were invariably surrounded by crevasses. For most of the day the expedition escaped them, but around midnight, three of Hansen’s dogs, Helge, Mylius and Ring, fell in and hung wriggling from their harness. But the harness was made from tough materials, and the animals were pulled up again with no further problems.

Tuesday dawned with bright weather and −40°C. Towards noon a moderate gale blew up and the temperature rose to −18, which felt rather pleasant, actually. They traversed only 20 kms that day. Amundsen’s dogs looked pitiful, and in the evening the group agreed to turn at 82°S.

Bikkjer som hviler. Neppe de samme bikkjene. Lagt ut med tillatelse fra Frammuseet.Wednesday at half past 3 p.m. they arrived at 82°. Amundsen’s dogs now were so worn-out that he had little aid from them and his comrades had to help pushing all the 1000lbs of his sledge under way when they started after any stoppage. Having arrived, they rested for the remainder of the day. The weather was clear and calm with a temperature of −25°C. On Thursday they built a depot of 620 kgs, mostly dog pemmikan. Amundsen left his sledge there, too. His dogs after all couldn’t pull it, empty or not, and it might be of some use when they were on their way back north next summer.

On Friday they turned back for home. With the sleds empty they made good speed and they were 48 kms further north when they camped for the evening. In the cold and humid weather, Amundsen’s 5 tired dogs just lay and shivered through the night, which was becoming a real night with the Sun more than 7 hours below the horizon now, though there was no darkness.

The dogs had to be lifted up on their legs the next morning, but did follow for the next 40 kilometers. On the Sunday, a hundred years ago today, they did 40 kms again, passing by their 81 degrees depot along the way.

In Stockholm, SASK arranged an international meet on the Albano track to finalise the season. Apart from locals, the Finn Tverin and the Norwegian Stener Johannessen were featured. The conditions Saturday were not optimal. The 500m was won by the Swedish champion Andersson:

1.Otto Andersson     49,7
2.Stener Johannessen 50,6
3.Jean Pettersson    50,8
4.Eric Blomgren      51,9 pb
5.Walter Tverin      52,4
6.Emerik Larsson     52,6

Ernst Cederlöf skated, too, as well as Alexis Ekström. Cederlöf skated his first known races at the national championship earlier in the season, including a 4th place in the 10000m. Blomgren skated his first race last week, a 1500m in 2.43. Both came from cycling.

The Swedish champion and overall European third prize winner also took the 5000m:

1.Otto Andersson     9.36,2
2.Stener Johannessen 9.36,5
3.Eric Blomgren      9.43,6 pb
4.Jean Pettersson    9.54,8
5.Ernst Cederlöf    10.05,4

A small breakthrough for Blomgren, whose potential and future was hailed by the newspapers in the most flamboyant terms.

Much better conditions and weather on Sunday, as 2500 spectators circled the track. Andersson won the 1500m, too, and thereby the overall trophy.

1.Otto Andersson     2.32,9
2.Stener Johannessen 2.33,5
3.Jean Pettersson    2.34,2 lowland pb
4.Ernst Cederlöf     2.36,7 pb
5.Walter Tverin      2.36,9 pb
6.Eric Blomgren      2.38,5 pb

In the 10000m we are told that the top skaters overall are paired, and they followed side by side the first laps, Andersson with his quick, short strokes and Johannessen with longer ones, more parallel, having tried to imitate Strunnikov’s style. “Svensk Idrottsblad” says that Andersson has had his style more “stadgad” (tidy) after his visits to Norway, (where, it is implied, the skating expertise is better than at home, possibly the Swedes are alreay on their way to dismiss skating as a typical Norwegian thing). After the 5th lap, Johannessen left the Swede behind and skated away from him meter by meter. Curiously, in Preben’s database I don’t find any result for Andersson in this distance. Of course, he didn’t need to finish the distance as he already had won the meet. He didn’t even need to start. But the newspaper article does indicate that he skated. Or maybe they have confused their Swedes again, whose names are so similar. If Andersson pulled out, Johannessen would have to be paired with Blomgren. And the report, which used the word (“distansere” — put well behind) fits the distance between them reasonably.


1.Stener Johannessen 19.03,2
2.Ernst Cederlöf     19.09,6 pb
3.Alexis Ekström     19.12,2 pb
4.Jean Pettersson    19.20,2 lowland pb
5.Eric Blomgren      19.20,6 pb

Cederlöf’s first known shorter distance results are from this meet, and thus he makes his debut in Adelskalenderen, at 54th place. Blomgren makes his debut at 79th place.

In their isssue the following week, Norsk Idrætsblad prints an annoyed letter from Magnus Johansen, evidently occasioned by the somewhat disparaging comments in the periodical after the Finlander Cup match:

I anledning Deres ærede blads referents uttalelser om mig i notisen om den norsk-finske pokalkamp skal jeg i førstkommende nummer faa utbede mig en liten plads.
Deres referent beklager, at jeg ikke kunne representere Kr.a skøiteklub ved pokalkampen og nævner, at jeg i denne sæsong skulde ha forvildet mig. Jeg kan ikke være enig med referenten heri. At jeg ikke har kunnet delta i pokalkampen bærer ene og alene skøiteklubbens bestyrelse skylden for. Den maate, hvorpaa Kr.a skøiteklub har optraadt likeover for Kr.a idrætsforening (omskrevet i forskjellige aviser) er skyld i, at jeg i aar har representeret sistnevnte. Jeg maatte, for at delta i det internationale skøiteløp, som skøiteklubben arrangerte, anmelde mig fra «Odd» Skien. Dette kommer av, at der i norsk skøiteforbunds love staar, at mere end en forening i samme by ikke kan staa i forbundet, altsaa hadde jeg valget mellem enten at la være at løpe eller repræsentere utenbys klub, der staar i forbundet. Dette er jo en bestemmelse, som for lang tid siden skulde har vært forandret. Det er jo vanvittigt, at hvilken som helst liten by skal ha samme rettigheter som Kr.a med ca. 240.000 indbyggere. Jeg trodde, at Deres ærede blads referent var bekjendt med dette forhold, men det forstaar jeg nu, at saa ikke er tilfelde. Han burde i alle fald vite det, da han har vært forretningsfører i Kr.a skøiteklub.
Magnus Johansen


I hereby request a little bit of space on the occasion of the statements from your esteemed magazine’s reporter about me in the report from the Norwegian-Finnish Trophy match.
Your reporter laments that I was unable to represent Kr.a Skøiteklub at the Trophy match, and claims that I have strayed this season. I can not agree with the reporter in this. My inability to participate in the Trophy match is the sole responsibility of the board of the KSK. The way in which Kr.a skøiteklub have behaved towards Kr.a idrætsforening (as reported in several newspapers) is the reason why I am representing the latter this year. In order to participate in the international meet organised by KSK, I was compelled to register as representing “Odd” Skien. The reason is that the NSF laws do not allow membership in the federation for more than one club per town, thus I was left with the choice of either refrain from skating or represent a club out of town with an NSF membership. This is a provision that should have been changed long ago. It’s madness that any small town is to have the same rights as Kr.a with approx. 240,000 citizens. I thought the reporter of your honourable magazine was familiar with this matter, but I understand now that this is not the case. He ought to know still, as he has been a manager of Kr.a Skøiteklub.
Yours respectfully
Magnus Johansen

In the next issue, an indignant reply appears:

Svar til hr. Magnus Johansen!
Deres begrundelse for at De iaar har repræsenteret forskjellige andre foreninger end Kr.a. skøiteklub er meget interessante for alle os, som i sæsongens løp har undret os over denne Deres handlemaate. –
Det er altsaa Kr.a S. K. selv, der efter Deres mening bærer skylden for at De i denne sæsong – i motsetning til før – har maattet repræsentere andre foreninger end K.S.K.
Naar der i I.E.V.s love § 5 staar at et medlem av I.E.V. i «en og samme sæsong» ikke maa repræsentere mere end en klub. Og videre: naar der i N.S.F.s love stod,**) at ikke mere end en forening i hver by kunde være medlem av N.S.F, saa maa selvfølgelig disse love befølges, saalænge de faktisk er gjældende, uanseet hvor vanvittige de end kan synes den enkelte. Resultatet av Deres elskværdige oplysninger er imidlertid at K.S.K. har forseet sig mot en forening. Derfor maa De, som i en række av aar har været medlem av og med stor hæder har repræsenteret K.S.K., for at opponere mod klubben – eller hved skulde grunden ellers være? – repræsentere den klub, som hadde lidt den formentlige overlast, og der hvor lovene ikke gav anledning hertil (nemlig i alle internationale løp utenom mesterskapene), maatte De, siger De selv, representere en forening i Skien!! - Jeg trodde det var kun for at dyrke god idræt - for at hærde sit legeme og forfriske sin sjæl, man var medlem av idrætsklubberne – ethvertfald har jeg lært det i min ungdom – og ikke for at drive en mindre tiltalende opposition mot de ledende. Men kanske har hr. J. andre hensigter med sit medlemskap, der vel efter disse oplysninger neppe kan ha stor værd for K.S.K.
Deres slutbemerkning om, hvad jeg bør vite har intet med saken at gjøre, (den er ovenikjøpet misvisende).
Th. (“N.I.”s referent).


Reply to Mr. Magnus Johansen!
Your reasoning for having represented various other clubs than Kr.a. skøiteklub this year is very interesting to all of us who have been curious about that course of action of yours this season.—
This means that according to your opinion it is Kr.a S. K. itself that bears the blame for your having to represent other clubs than K.S.K. this season—unlike before.
When the I.E.V.s laws § 5 says that a member of the I.E.V. in “one and the same season” is not allowed to represent more than one club. And further: when the N.S.F. laws say that no more than one club in each town may be a member of the N.S.F, then these laws of course must be obeyed as long as they actually do apply, no matter how insane any individual may deem them. The gist of your graciously provided information however is that K.S.K. has misbehaved towards one club. Because of this you, who for several year has been a member of K.S.K. and represented it very honourably, feel obliged, in order to confront the club—or what else could the reason be?—to represent the club having suffered the supposed slight, and where the laws did not give permission to do so (that is, in any international race apart from championships), you were compelled, as you put it, to represent a club in Skien!!—Until now I had the impression that the membership of sport clubs was sought only in order to engage in good sports—to harden one’s body and refresh one’s soul—at least this is what I have been taught in my youth—and not in order to engage in some sort of unappetising opposition against the leadership. But maybe Mr. J. has other intentions with his membership, which following this information hardly can be of much value to the K.S.K.
Your final remark about what I ought to know is not relevant to the case at all, (it is even misleading).
Th. (“N.I.”’s reporter).

One gets the feeling that the last word has not fallen yet in this battle.