Oscar Mathisen
Speedskating - Oscar Diary

Letter from Ippolitov

Morgenbladet on Jan 5, 6 or 7, 1914:

It is now quite certain that Ippolitov jr. will come to us. He will arrive well in time for the World Championship to train. Apparently, given time he’s bound to get better than his feared brother, or so we have been told. Also there have been initiatives to bring Ippolitov senior up here. He is doing his military service for the time being, and this is a great obstacle. But strangely enough when it comes to Russia, there is actually a faint hope that he may get leave to participate in the World Championships here. If it were to be possible to effect such a leave, it would amount to something entirely new as far as Russia is concerned. A few years ago the idea of a Russian private getting leave from the army for such a purpose would have seemed entirely ridiculous. However, with the growing interest in sports in the Czarist empire, especially the last year or so, the impossible may in fact become possible.

Naidenov will not be coming here this year, but the best Swedes and Finns are expected.

On Jan 8 or 9, 1914, the paper publishes the following correspondence with Vasilij Ippolitov:

“As you know, I am currently a soldier, and as such it is strictly forbidden for me to be a member of a sports club and to concern myself with anything outside my military duties. The extent of my desire to come to Norway and participate in the World Championship is indescribable. If you would be as kind as to send a plea letter to my colonel, then he might give me leave to travel to Norway and participate in the races.”

The Morgenbladet journalist wrote to the colonel, emphasising the ideal goals of sport and how physically and morally useful it was for young people to practice it. Neither did he forget to mention how a strong and brave youth would benefit the fatherland. The letter ended with an appeal to the colonel to give the desired leave to Ippolitov, so that he could defend his and his country’s honour and glory.

New letter from Ippolitov: “Have been called to the colonel and advised about your letter. The colonel said: I won’t let you go! And I’m not paying any attention to this letter, so now you know. Dismissed!”

But to his astonishment the Morgenbladet reporter received an elaborately topped letter from the colonel:

“My most highly respected NN
Your wish has my fullest sympathy, but according to the law it is not in my power to exempt Ippolitov from service and give him permission to travel abroad. In order for me to be able to procure his leave from the higher authorities, an official request from the Norwegian skating club would be required, in Russian translation.”

KSK promptly wrote the request, and had it translated and sent without delay.

Unfortunately none of this is dated in the newspaper, but the correspondence probably started in December if not earlier.