Oscar Mathisen
Speedskating - Oscar Diary

And 2.19,4!

A hundred years ago today the weather was the same dull and grey as the day before. Not as cold, but with an unpleasant wind instead. Most people thought that today there would be no records for sure. Most but not all. Because yesterday’s 43,7 in fact provided the first new test to new Kirkeveien-boulevard, built on the occasion of the national centenary exhibition. The traffic today of automobiles and pedestrians was like one of the big Stadion days, and formerly, blockages had been commonplace. When the meet started at 1 o’clock, 8 to 10 thousands were on the stands, and about as many were in trees and shrubs, on balconies, roofs and on Gratishaugen, the mound beside the rink where some partial view still could be had for free.

I do not have any detailed report from the Sunday races, but if the draw were as usual, Mamen would meet Gulbrandsen, beating him comprehensively and setting a new pb 2.35,0, well ahead of his former one. His 18.59,0 of yesterday was his 10000m debut, one of the strongest ever until then. Otto Christiansen also beat his pb soundly with 2.33,6, while his pairmate Johannessen skated 2.31,2. It seemed the race conditions weren’t so much worse than yesterday after all, despite the bitter wind. The Horten skaters met again, and the upcoming Strøm skated well and registered a fine new pb in 2.29,1, well ahead of his clubmate. Lundgreen may have met either Schou, Thoresen or Syversen. He finished in 2.31,5, better than anyone of the trio. Schou was the best of those in 2.31,7. Henning Olsen beat Thoralf Hansen and finished well ahead, but not good enough to beat Strøm with his 2.29,8.

Then it was time for the big one. Oscar had received a few blows from the hands of Ippolitov last season and came to this one even bigger and stronger than before. He ought to be well prepared for this season’s clashes with his Russian rival, if it would prove at all possible to free him from that military service of his. And it was clear from yesterday’s results that his preparations had paid off. 43,7—my word! He was better than ever before. However, I don’t think his mind was filled with thoughts like these as he stood on the starting line with the fine sprinter Bjarne Frang (the pair was the 3rd according to his memoirs) waiting for the signal to do his best. No, his mind was empty, cold, winter-dark, and hungry, hungry for prey. And the prey was his own 4 year old record, 2.20,6. The signal came, and the two friends made a fast start, first side by side, then Oscar pulled away. At 1100m he saw the timekeepers stick their heads together with some urgency, and realised that the chance was there. He let his arm go in a long sprint, and when it was over, and the numbers showed on the board again, it was clear that yet another magic limit was broken and another dream of the future had come true. 2.19,4 were the figures.

Towards the end of the record race, from Norsk Idrætsblad

Cheers were loud. The stands were a tangle of swaying arms waving handkerchiefs, programme booklets, scarves, various headgear, aquavit bottles or whatever they might happen to have in their hands. It didn’t last long before the boldest got onto the ice and soon the surface was thick with Kristianensers flocking around the record man, lifting him up and carrying him around the track. A large Norwegian flag was pulled down from a pole and held in front of the crowd while it swarmed around a lap and started another. The orchestra joined in the merriment, playing the national anthem. Finally enough love had been poured out to the fatherland and the hero of the nation, and he was allowed to touch the planet again in reasonably healthy condition. Dear oh dear, how endurable would life have been without these skating parties?

Fra Stadion, drawing by Fr. Bżdtker in Veslefrik, from Oscar Mathisen, Mitt livs løp

1.Oscar Mathisen      2.19,4 WR
2.Bjarne Frang        2.27,3 pb
3.Kristian Strøm      2.29,1 pb
4.Henning Olsen       2.29,8
5.Stener Johannessen  2.31,2
6.Trygve Lundgreen    2.31,5
7.Gunerius Schou      2.31,7
8.Otto Christiansen   2.33,6 pb
9.Ole Mamen           2.35,0 pb
10.Thoralf Hansen     2.35,2
11.Sigurd Syversen    2.35,9
12.Arnulf Hvidsten    2.36,1
13.Thoralf Thoresen   2.39,4
14.Karl Gulbrandsen   2.39,5
15.Hans Brandt        2.39,8
1.Oscar Mathisen       3
2.Kristian Strøm      12
3.Bjarne Frang        14
4. Stener Johannessen 17
5.Otto Christiansen   19
6.Gunerius Schou      19
7.Sigurd Syversen     21
8.Thoralf Hansen      23
9.Arnulf Hvidsten     24
Ole Mamen             24
10.Thoralf Thoresen   27
12.Karl Gulbrandsen   31

The ice was swept to clean away as much as possible of the dirt from thousands of spectator boots and then the male figure skaters could proceed with their free skate event. After them came a junior 500 meter won by Thorolf Hansen ahead of Melvin Johansen and finally the female free skate before the 5000 m could start. If the pairs were composed according to the usual rules, either Henning Olsen or Trygve Lundgreen skated alone:

Henning Olsen
Trygve Lundgreen

The one of them who didn’t, was paired with Hansen.

Thoralf Hansen

Brandt met Thoresen, who didn’t have much ambition here.

Hans Brandt
68-1.52-2.36-3.23-4.09-4.54-5.40-6.26-7.13-8.00-8.46- 9.31,4
Thoralf Thoresen

Schou skated against Frang and took the lead half-way, increasing it slowly for the last laps.

Gunerius Schou
Bjarne Frang

Syversen defeated Gulbrandsen after a close fight. Gulbrandsen at least improved his pb.

Sigurd Syversen
Karl Gulbrandsen

Mamen was set up against Hvidsten, but fell early. He struggled back and took the lead, winning narrowly against the Hortenser, who improved his pb by more than a minute.

Ole Mamen
Arnulf Hvidsten

Johannessen set up a good pace and his pairmate, the aesthete Christiansen, hung on. But in the 4th lap they came out on the back straight side by side, and couldn’t avoid a rather unaesthetic collision. They both fell, but continued the race, with the young Christiansen eventually getting the upper hand.

Stener Johannessen
Otto Christiansen

Oscar Mathisen met Kristian Strøm, for the first time, and did not attempt any new record. It was a little windy. And another chance was just around the corner. Strøm hung on for a few laps, but had to yield. His new pb was good enough for 28th place in the all-time list.

1.Oscar Mathisen      8.44,5 RR
2.Trygve Lundgreen    9.00,2
3.Kristian Strøm      9.02,2 pb
4.Henning Olsen       9.16,6
5.Otto Christiansen   9.21,2f pb
6.Ole Mamen           9.22,5f pb
7.Arnulf Hvidsten     9.24,2 pb
8.Gunerius Schou      9.27,6
9.Sigurd Syversen     9.28,6
10.Stener Johannessen 9.28,7f
11.Karl Gulbrandsen   9.31,3 pb
12.Hans Brandt        9.31,4
13.Bjarne Frang       9.31,6
14.Thoralf Hansen     9.46,0
15.Thoralf Thoresen  10.21,5
Total points
1.Oscar Mathisen       4
2.Kristian Strøm      14
3.Otto Christiansen   22
4.Bjarne Frang        24
5.Stener Johannessen  25
6.Gunerius Schou      25
7.Sigurd Syversen     28
Ole Mamen             28
9.Arnulf Hvidsten     29
10.Thoralf Hansen     34
11.Thoralf Thoresen   39
12.Karl Gulbrandsen   40