Oscar Mathisen
Speedskating - Oscar Diary

Warmly welcomed at Horten

On the Sunday of January 25th, 1914, it was time for a popular gathering again, as n’Oscar was coming to town. It wasn’t exactly the same Oscar who had blessed the small naval town with his presence earlier, it was a new Oscar, the new Oscar who came riding on rails with the solar glory of foreign lands about him and the overlordship of the world newly-won in his hands, the new Oscar who came home with 43,4, 8.36,6 and 2.17,4.

Train after train emptied their loads of spectators from other towns nearby. Regular and irregular steamers crossed the fjord. The stands began to fill already at 12 o’clock. Fortunately for the club there was no way to get a view for free this time, because they had set up a 2 meters high fence with financing through personal guarantees from the board members.

The homecoming of the Davos voyagers, drawing by »yvind Sørensen in Aftenposten, from Mitt livs løp

Oscar Mathisen and Bjarne Frang returned from the foreign lands at noon the Thursday before, or Wednesday if Oscar’s memoirs are more correct, and were greeted by at least half the capital’s population if we are to believe his book. Already on Saturday they were at Horten and studied the well-groomed ice. “Finer than in Davos,” Oscar boasted. “Records are endangered,” Frang said, quite in earnest.

Then the south wind came. The temperature jumped from 0 to +7 centigrades, and a drizzle of rain fell in the night. Sunday dawned with pretty and hazy weather, but at the measuring station downtown it showed +8. On Bastøyferja across the fjord the passengers enjoyed the pleasant warm sunshine and measured +5 in the air. But the sports park had a more sheltered situation and the ice was not seriously damaged. The rink crew worked diligently to remove the thin layer of snow, but weren’t able to stop pores and cracks from trapping it.

Chairman Owren had planned his meet well. Down here they had other ideas for promoting skating than in the Kristiania. Instead of hiding the 5000 m away from the big audience by skating it on Saturdays they arranged it so that all 3 distances were skated the same day, in ascending order of length, and the pairings of the latter ones set up in accordance with the results from the preceding distance. And the senior class had only 6 participants, assuring a quick and painfree meet. The pauses were to be filled with junior races, just as in Kristiania, but the number of juniors wasn’t excruciatingly big and only 12 of them were allowed to skate the 1500m. This made for a dense and exciting programme with three thrilling 5000m duels as the finale. And what more could you wish?

Julius Owren, the main driving force behind the important and productive skating culture at Horten, from Norsk Idrætsblad

Unfortunately I have no protocol, but if they followed the usual 500m practice of pairing the home favorite with the presumably best visiting skater, it would seem that Kristian Strøm was to meet the record wholesaler Oscar Mathisen. As yet Strøm was no match for Oscar, who set a new rink record with 44,9 while the home favourite, somewhat perplexed, finished in 49,5. No-one else was near this leading time, except Bjarne Frang, who gave his clubmate a fright by finishing in 45,0, a new lowland pb that equalled Henning Olsen’s 2nd place in the lowland all-time list.

1.Oscar Mathisen     44,9 RR
2.Bjarne Frang       45,0 lowland pb
3.Trygve Lundgreen   47,3
4.Thoralf Hansen     47,5
5.Arnulf Hvidsten    48,9
6.Kristian Strøm     49,5

The junior 500m resulted in a Hamar 1–2 through Melvin Johansen and Leonard Johannessen, who both improved their pbs to 49,0 and 49,4 respectively. In the senior 1500m, Kristian Strøm defeated his clubmate Hvidsten easily and finished in 2.33,4. But Trygve Lundgreen was 2/10 faster in his pair, where he beat Thoralf Hansen by a second and a half. Then in the main pair, the guest of honour made another demonstration on the softening ice, setting another rink record with his 2.23,3, 6 seconds ahead of his clubmate Frang.

1.Oscar Mathisen     2.23,3 RR
2.Bjarne Frang       2.29,6
3.Trygve Lundgreen   2.33,2
4.Kristian Strøm     2.33,4
5.Thoralf Hansen     2.34,7
6.Arnulf Hvidsten    2.38,6
1.Oscar Mathisen     2
2.Bjarne Frang       4
3.Trygve Lundgreen   6
4.Thoralf Hansen     9
5.Arnulf Hvidsten   10
Kristian Strøm      10

After a junior 1500 won by Gustav Gulbrandsenin 2.39,0, it was time for the final distance. Here Oscar made another excellent piece of propaganda for skating with a race well under 9 minutes on the worn ice.

Oscar Mathisen
Bjarne Frang

Apparently the laps must have been a little more than 400 meters. Anyway, Lundgreen and Strøm made some good propaganda of their own with a close fight were the routine and the famous fighting spirit of Lundgreen rescued him from losing to the promising local skater.

Trygve Lundgreen
Kristian Strøm

As Hvidsten pulled out after a disappointing 5000m, the remaining pair with Hansen skating alone was rather less entertaining.

Thoralf Hansen
1.Oscar Mathisen     8.53,1 RR
2.Trygve Lundgreen   9.09,2
3.Kristian Strøm     9.10,4
4.Bjarne Frang       9.33,5
5.Thoralf Hansen    10.09,2
Total points:
1.Oscar Mathisen     3
2.Bjarne Frang       8 (152.217)
3.Trygve Lundgreen   8 (153.287)
4.Kristian Strøm    12
5.Thoralf Hansen    14

Horten idrettspark, from Norsk Idrætsblad

As the Horten club made a bit of income from this meet, they decided to endeavour sending Strøm to Berlin. The Kristiania club was expected to send Lundgreen. On January 28 it was reported that Oscar Mathisen had been invited both to Stockholm and to Budapest. He accepted the one from Stockholm and planned to go there on the 29th (Thursday) with Frang. But then Frang received an invitation from Budapest and accepted it. The Federation had already selected the national champion Martin Sæterhaug for the European Championship. The KSK had chosen Oscar and Bjarne Frang and would send another if the results from the Hamar meet this weekend were indicative of it.

On Jan. 23, Trondhjem SK received a telegram from Vasilij Ippolitov informing them that he would arrive 8 days before the World Championship to train there. Meanwhile in Moscow the Russians had their national championship at Devitsje Polje. Platon Ippolitov won the two longest distances and the championship. 9.08,4 in the 5000m was pretty good. 2nd overall was Nikita Najdenov and 3rd was another upcoming long distance skater, Sergej Kurbatov. Number 4 was a debutant, with no known results until then. He skated 50,4, 2.38,8 and 9.35,4, and his name was Jakov Melnikov.