Oscar Mathisen
Speedskating - Oscar Diary

Season opening—just barely

The season opened duly in Kristiania a hundred years ago yesterday with national races arranged by KSK. But it was only thanks to luck and a lot of hard work that the meet could take place at all. The early winter had been miserable, and as late as Friday it was 5 to 6 degrees above and a slushy rink with signs of lush grass here and there. But frost came in the evening, and the rink crew worked the night through under the leadership of the legendary Zakken Johansen to get the track ready, spraying it 11 to 12 times before daybreak. In the morning the ice lay fine and smooth, if a bit thin in the north curve. However, a stiff northern breeze had blown up with swirling snow, giving the skaters a headwind on the home straight.

The first pair in the 500m was Bjarne Frang and Karl Gulbrandsen, won by Frang in 46,4, a new pb. Impressive on this fresh ice. The reporter was less impressed by Gulbrandsen, complaining about too narrow strokes. Then Oscar Mathisen had his season debut against Aksel Mathiesen. Any doubts of his continued mastery of the sprint was cast aside by another breathtaking display, bringing him yet again under 45 with his 44,9, only 7/10 behind his world record, and an ocean ahead of all the rest. Loud shouts of praise was drawn from the spectators, who were few, only 800–1000. Then came Henning Olsen and Sigurd Syversen. Olsen had a misstroke in the northern curve, but handled it well and went into 3rd place with 46,8. Stener Johannessen and Einar Staff in the next pair were less fortunate and both clocked over 50. Last pair was Trygve Lundgreen and Gunerius Schou, tieing at 49,7 in another unimpressive race.

1.Oscar Mathisen.KSK     44,9
2.Bjarne Frang.KSK       46,4 pb
3.Henning Olsen.KSK      46,8
4.Aksel Mathiesen.KIF    48,2 pb
5.Sigurd Syversen.KSK    48,7
6.Gunerius Schou.KSK     49,7
Trygve Lundgreen.KSK     49,7
8.Stener Johannessen.KSK 50,0
9.Karl Gulbrandsen.KSK   50,2
10.Einar Staff.KSK       50,6

In the 10000m the breeze made goings tough, and for skaters with no ice training at all so far this season it must have been testy. First pair was Oscar and Bjarne Frang, the 500m runner up. It was not a good match. Oscar was way ahead after just 2 laps, overtook Frang first in the 11th lap, then again in the 19th lap and finally just before the finish line. The time of 18.33,1 was nothing particular, but it was nice to give the skates a test anyway. 2nd pair was the two long distance experts Lundgreen and Johannessen, who made a pretty good fight out of it with Lundgreen coming out on top. But the final time was nearly a minute behind Oscar’s time. The third pair, which also turned out to be the last, was Olsen and Mathiesen, where Olsen impressed with elegance and elasticity. Mathiesen gave up after 11 laps, and as none of the 4 other entries turned up in the windy weather, Olsen’s finish at 20.05,4 concluded the day.

1.Oscar Mathisen     18.33,1
2.Trygve Lundgreen   19.29,1
3.Stener Johannessen 19.43,0
4.Henning Olsen      20.05,4
5.Bjarne Frang       21.10,4 pb
Aksel Mathiesen dnf
Sigurd Syversen, Gunerius Schou, Karl Gulbrandsen and Einar Staff dns
1.Oscar Mathisen     2
2.Trygve Lundgreen   6
3.Henning Olsen      7
Bjarne Frang         7
5.Stener Johannessen 8

I have no information on the weather on the Sunday a hundred years ago today, but it appears to have been something like the day before. First pair in the 1500m was Olsen and Mathiesen, with a solid win for Olsen at 2.34,3. Then Oscar Mathisen and Bjarne Frang had another go. The other skaters had grown used to getting completely eclipsed when he did his exhibitions by now, and here they were eclipsed massively. The writers took out their “flying through the curves” clicheacute;s again, and he finished in 2.25,2, with Frang more than a 100 meters behind. Third pair was Lundgreen and Syversen, won by the more experienced Lundgreen in a fairly close battle. But the time was only 2.42,0. Fourth pair was Schou and Johannessen, where the young Schou won surprisingly and by a surprisingly large margin with 2.36,9, third place so far. Last pair was Staff and Gulbrandsen, who won easily, but only in 2.42,9.

1.Oscar Mathisen     2.25,2
2.Henning Olsen      2.34,3
3.Gunerius Schou     2.36,9
4.Bjarne Frang       2.38,2
5.Stener Johannessen 2.40,0
6.Aksel Mathiesen    2.41,9
7.Trygve Lundgreen   2.42,0
8.Karl Gulbrandsen   2.42,9
9.Sigurd Syversen    2.44,0
10.Einar Staff       2.48,0
1.Oscar Mathisen      3
2.Henning Olsen       9
3.Bjarne Frang       10
4.Trygve Lundgreen   11
5.Stener Johannessen 12

In the 5000m, Olsen and Johannessen opened the show. Their pair was close and exciting, won by Olsen with a better final sprint, 9.29,7 against 9.31,8. But of course it paled entirely when Oscar next eclipsed everything again, coursing though a series of 43 and 44 laps and finishing in 9.06,8, well over half a lap ahead of Lundgreen. Syversen and Gulbrandsen in the third pair then skated rather subdued races, finishing well over 10 minutes. Frang and Mathiesen in the fourth was exciting as to the outcome, and here the sprinter drew the longest straw again with a margin of only a tenth of a second. But the time was only 10.10,0. Einar Staff had withdrawn from the last pair, so his clubmate Hans Brandt, who had won the junior 1500m in 2.38,6 the day before, was given to Schou as a provisional pairmate. They skated a close race, too, Schou getting the better of the junior in the end, clocking 10.11,8.

1.Oscar Mathisen     9.06,8
2.Henning Olsen      9.29,7
3.Stener Johannessen 9.31,8
4.Trygve Lundgreen   9.41,2
5.Bjarne Frang      10.10,0
6.Aksel Mathiesen   10.10,1
7.Gunerius Schou    10.11,8
8.Sigurd Syversen   10.17,4
9.Karl Gulbrandsen  10.28,3
uk Hans Brandt      10.13,2
Total points:
1.Oscar Mathisen    4
2.Henning Olsen    11
3.Bjarne Frang     15
Trygve Lundgreen   15
Stener Johannessen 15

The club selected the top 5 plus Schou for the national championship in Horten next weekend.