Oscar Mathisen
Speedskating - Oscar Diary

Threat from the east

A 100 years ago today, TSK arranged another points race for members. The conditions were a little better, especially in the 500m, and a few pbs were set.

500m seniors
1.Martin Sæterhaug 47,5
2.Johannes Fladaas 48,7 pb
500m juniors
1.Ivar Fyhn       48,8 pb
2.Einar Hansen    49,2 pb
3.Oluf Jacobsern  49,3 pb
4.Johannes Fyhn   50,3 pb
5.Olaf Rustad     50,5 pb
6.Jacob Sæterhaug 51,0
7.Alf Paulsen     51,0
8.Johan Sæterhaug 51,2 pb
9.Karl Gilberg    52,1 pb
10.Kristian Fyhn  52,8
1500m seniors
1.Martin Sæterhaug 2.36,2
2.Johannes Fladaas 2.40,8
1500m juniors
1.Oluf Jacobsern  2.40,4
2.Jacob Sæterhaug 2.40,7
3.Olaf Rustad     2.42,0
4.Ivar Fyhn       2.43,5
5.Johan Sæterhaug 2.44,8
6.Einar Hansen    2.47,7 pb
7.Johannes Fyhn   2.48,1
8.Karl Gilberg    2.50,0
Alf Paulsen       2.50,0

Meanwhile, Nikolaj Strunnikov continued preparing for the season in his hometown Moscow. A 100 years ago today, he equalled his national record in the 1500m with 2.29,4 (or was the date of last year’s result wrong, or that of this year’s result?) He didn’t know what to expect of the coming season. Last year he had been told that Mathisen's suspension was expected to last only a year. But he had heard no results from Norway yet. He knew that the Norwegian was beatable. He had done it twice in 1910. So he did not have any particular feelings about their inevitable encounter in this year’s championships. As yet.

The Christmas special issue of «Norsk Idrætsblad» prints this charming letter from Strunnikov to Zacharias (Zakken) Johansen, the rinkmaster of Frogner: «Dear Johansen. There is no place where they are able to make such a good ice-rink as in Kristiania. Everywhere else they worry only about the stands and care little about the ice. I thank you many times for the attention you give the track. Every world record ought to be set in Kristiania. Thanks to your fine care for the ice I was able to achieve the best time of my life so far in Kristiania.
Yet again a Russian thanks. I shake your hand.
N Strunnikoff.»

They also managed to get hold of a letter from Wynout Hendrik Taconis to a Norwegian penfriend of his and thought this portion of it was appropriate entertainment for their Christmas readers: “--I will never forget the lovely time I spent in Norway with my hospitable brothers in sport. No wonder the Norwegians are such clever speedskaters when you see how they make every effort to set the rinks in their finest condition. This was evident especially in Kristiania, where I trained for a whole month. I have never skated in such a fine rink as in Kristiania, where they do all they can for the skaters who train there. In other countries (for example Davos) the care for the audience comes first.
I thought the precision and order that prevailed in the rink during the races was striking. I assume the reason is that the race officials from Kristiania Skøyteklub themselves all had been performers and thus knew how to organise the races.
Another thing was hard for me to understand: why there aren’t more Norwegians doing skating.
Overall I was profoundly attracted to the Norwegian winter and its open-air activities. My sporting heart beat especially hard when I saw how everyone on Sunday mornings, young and old, went up in the mountains with skis and toboggans. Then I had to feel what we lack in the Netherlands, a “Norwegian winter”.
With a cordial greeting to all my Norwegian friends,
W H Taconis.”