Oscar Mathisen
Speedskating - Oscar Diary

More records in Stockholm?

Hammarby IF was the club inviting Oscar to Stockholm, and it seems the club representatives were hoping to cash in as much as their neighbouring rivals SASK had done on previous visits by Oscar. They were marketing his visit as the big thing in winter sport this season. With his new overlordship over the speedskating records and the new Davos times sent flying through the telegraph lines of the world, he had grown a bit in stature and market value, and the representatives of the club claimed that he was the most famous athlete in the world right now. Maybe he was, too. Speedskating wasn’t such a minor sport in 1914 as it has become later. The Hammarby enthusiasts worked hard to groom their ice and claimed to have achieved a completely flawless surface. Oscar himself found it as good as the one in Davos, but didn’t think it was possibly to copy the light Davos air. The night before the meet it was noted in the newspapers that the ice was to be flooded once more before the competitions, then it would become so smooth that just about anybody could set new records on it.

Unfortunately these high hopes were not to be quite fulfilled. Saturday dawned with +5 centigrade and continuous rain. And the weather kept most Stockholmers indoors as well. To Hammarby lake, which was located a little off the beaten track and wasn’t exactly as fancy as the new Olympic stadium either, hardly 500 spectators found their way. That must have been a bit of a let-down for the hopeful enthusiasts.

Still, the ice had fared surprisingly well from the weather, and when the races started, the famous guest made good speed in his pair against David Pettersson, who kept so busy observing the phenomenon in the other lane that he forgot to mind his own skating and fell in the first curve, sailing through the water with waves breaking after him. Oscar himself continued his immaculate speed demonstration, and was approaching the finish line when suddenly his skate hit a crack in the flawless ice and got stuck. Round about he went, splashing in the water, directly as wet as a drowned cat (to use his own words), tearing across the line in a new track record 44,9, and continuing uncontrollably in the direction of an iron pole, bracing himself for an impact that could be disastrous. He was saved by a spectator who stepped out to intercept him, but the tumult still resulted in a sprained leg and a sprained finger according to the newspapers.

The pair Moje Öholm and Paul Zerling was a lot closer. Zerling started best and kept his lead until the last straight, where the old champion accelerated considerably, leaving his pairmate well behind and winning the pair by a whole second in 47,3. Ernst Cederlöf also sprinted well and beat Sven Lundgren by the same difference as he attained the 3rd place in 48,0.

1.Oscar Mathisen     44,9 TR
2.Moje Öholm         47,3
3.Ernst Cederlöf     48,0
4.Paul Zerling       48,3
5.Sven Lundgren      49,0 pb
6.Paul Poss          49,9
7.B Lindh            52,5 pb
8.Henrik Morén       53,7
David Pettersson and Gustaf Wiberg fell and dnf

The somewhat battered guest of honour kept a low profile during the first laps of the 5000 m, nursing his sprains, and allowed the former European Champion Öholm was allowed to lead for 6 laps in a relatively The Swede seems to have improved his form compared to the last 4–5 years. From the 7th lap however, Oscar took over and gained 4–5 seconds per lap on the Swede, eventually leaving him half a lap behind. The former Hammarby skater Cederlöf, who had done well the last couple of seasons, was the favourite against Zerling, but now seemed untrained and was easily defeated by the SASK skater, who showed fine progress since last year and finished 2nd so far in 9.20,5. The veteran Henrik Morén won on default against Lindh, who fell and got so wet and cold that he went straight away to the changing rooms. Paul Poss also achieved a good result in 9.25,5, paired with Lundgren of the organising club. Pettersson skated alone in 9.41.3.

1.Oscar Mathisen     9.03,9 TR
2.Paul Zerling       9.20,5
3.Paul Poss          9.25,5
4.Moje Öholm         9.29,8
5.David Pettersson   9.41,3
6.Henrik Morén       9.43,9
7.Ernst Cederlöf     9.47,8
Sven Lundgren        9.47,8 pb
Lindh fell, dnf
1.Oscar Mathisen     2
2.Paul Zerling       6
Moje Öholm           6
4.Paul Poss          9
5.Ernst Cederlöf     9,5
6.Sven Lundgren     11,5
7.Henrik Morén      12

Meanwhile, Hamar SK arranged a national meet that could be decisive for the European Championship selection. The meet officials were F. Monsen, Filip N. Petersen and Harald Larsen, cashier Mr. Østby. On this first day the ice conditions were fine, the track in Åkersvika was well prepared and the ice smooth. It was calm, half a degree above freezing, and a little snow, but not to any annoyance. After the 500 m, Henning Olsen seemed to be the one who strengthened his chances the most for a trip to Berlin with the KSK team, beating the freshly crowned national champion by half a second.

1.Henning Olsen      45,8
2.Martin Sæterhaug   46,3
3.Gunerius Schou     47,0 eq. pb
4.Sigurd Syversen    47,2 eq. pb
5.Thoralf Hansen     47,4
6.Trygve Lundgreen   47,8
7.Kristian Strøm     48,0
8.Otto Christiansen  48,2 pb
9.Stener Johannessen 48,8
10.Ole Mamen         49,3
11.Karl Gulbrandsen  50,0

Then it was time for the junior 5000m, and here things got sensational. Not only did the homegrown junior Melvin Johansen improve his former pb by a shattering 27.2 seconds, climbing to 33rd place (tied with Sigurd Mathisen) in the world all-time list with 9.05,2. But the new promising Trønder Aune with his seemingly lucky silver medal in the 10000m from last weekend also improved massively, from 9.42,0 to 9.09,6, good enough for 42nd place in the all-time list. The Hamar newspapers, having waited patiently year after year for someone to take over from Norseng, Godager, Halvorsen and Sinnerud, overflowed with superlatives. Here was the new Mathisen, with the plasticity of Oscar, the soundless, clean strokes of Halvorsen, skating with a semblance of effortlessness, with the same good and pure style as when he started. For this distance I have a splittime protocol, but no information on the pairs. As far as I can gather, Johansen and Aune skated in different pairs, though. There was an annoying variable wind during this 5000m, calming for some of the pairs.

5000 m junior:
1.Melvin Johansen     
52  -1.36  -2.20  -3.03,5-3.47  -4.33  -5.18-6.03,5-6.50  -7.35,5-8.21 - 9.05,2 pb 
2.Sverre Aune         
52  -1.34,5-2.17,5-3.02  -3.47,5-4.33  -5.18-6.05  -6.51  -7.37,5-8.24 - 9.09,6 pb
3.Gustav Gulbrandsen  
54  -1.37  -2.21,5-3.07  -3.54,5-4.42  -5.30-6.19  -7.07  -7.56  -8.44 - 9.31,1
4.Hilmar Bækkevold    
53,5-1.37,5-2.25  -3.12  -3.58,5-4.46  -5.32-6.21,5-7.09,5-7.58  -8.47 - 9.36,4
5.Theodor Pedersen    
51,5-1.34  -2.20  -3.07  -3.55,5-4.44,5-5.34-6.23  -7.13  -8.03  -8.53 - 9.41,0 pb
6.Leonard Johannessen 
54  -1.37  -2.23  -3.10  -3.58  -4.47  -5.36-6.27  -7.17  -8.08  -8.58 - 9.47,4 pb
7.Sverre Smith        
53  -1.36  -2.32  -3.20  -4.10  -5.00  -5.49-6.39  -7.29  -8.18  -9.09 - 9.48,8
8.Wilhelm Wolff       
56  -1.43  -2.29  -3.16  -4.05  -4.53  -5.43-6.32  -7.23  -8.13  -9.04 - 9.55,0
9.Thorolf Hansen     
56  -1.43  -2.30  -3.18  -4.07  -4.58  -5.48-6.37  -7.30  -8.22  -9.20?-10.06,7 pb
10.Alf Lundaas       
52  -1.37  -2.22  -3.09  -4.02  -4.53  -5.46-6.39  -7.34  -8.27  -9.21 -10.14,4

Obviously the laps on this track on the Mjøsa lake at Åkersvika were a little more than 400m, probably 416 and 2/3. And just as obviously something is wrong with the splittimes or the final time of Sverre Smith, probably the latter. But can we deliver a protest 100 years afterwards? I have corrected a handful of other obvious errors in the protocol.

In the 10000m the wind conditions were the same. There were many pairs, as many as 5, but according to a newspaper report the 500m results, which formed the basis for the pairing, made most of them fairly equal and well-fought, so the journalists and the audience weren’t bored to death after all.

Karl Gulbrandsen skated alone, however, and spent nearly 20 minutes.


Stener Johannesen struggled to get rid of the strong Østfolding Ole Mamen, who skated aggressively and lead for the most of the race, but the former record holder found an opportunity for attack in the 19th lap and succeeded. Mamen did improve his pb.

60-1.44  -2.29  -3.14-4.00-4.46-5.32  -6.18-7.05-7.52-8.40-9.27-10.14  -11.01-11.47  -12.34-13.21-14.09-14.55-15.43-16.30-17.17  -18.07-18.54,0

Christiansen skated aggressively against Strøm for 7 laps, but started losing ground from the 8th. Strøm beat the more famous Johannessen and improved his pb a little.

60-1.45-2.31-3.16,5-4.02,5-4.47-5.35-6.21  -7.07,5-7.53-8.39  -9.25-10.12-10.57-11.44-12.31  -13.17-14.04-14.51-15.37-16.24-17.11-17.56,5-18.42,5
61-1.45-2.30-3.16  -4.02  -4.47-5.35-6.22,5-7.10  -7.57-8.44,5-9.32-10.20-11.08-11.55-12.42,5-13.30-14.18-15.05-15.52-16.40-17.27-18.14  -18.59,8

Hansen was seriously outskated by Lundgreen though, and only lasted for 14 laps.

62-1.47  -2.34  -3.21-4.08-4.56-5.44  -6.33-7.22-8.12-9.01-9.56-10.48  -11.30

Syversen had to skate alone for most of the race, because Schou after a fast and promising start hurt himself by kicking the tip of his skate into his leg, and gave up racing. Syversen did well, though. He made one of the best times and improved his pb pĆ 46.6 seconds, climbing to 41st place in the world all-time list and 32nd place in Adelskalenderen. Unfortunately the protocol gives only his first 3 laps.


In the pair between the national champion Sæterhaug and Henning Olsen, the latter attacked in the 4th lap and gained an initiative, which he extended with a further attack in the 8th lap. He had been unable to get leave from his job to go to the national championship, and dearly wanted to beat the champion in this distance as well, as an argument for a KSK ticket to Berlin. But the tough Trønder drew level again, and in the 16th lap, Olsen may have had an accident or tired suddenly, thus the champion quickly built a lead of up to 8 seconds. However, after a couple of restive 51 and 50 laps, Olsen found some energy again and managed to drive quite close after a couple of strong final laps.

61-1.46-2.31  -3.16,5-4.02-4.49-5.36-6.24-7.12-8.00-8.47-9.34-10.21-11.08,5-11.56-12.43-13.30-14.17-15.05-15.52-16.40-17.28  -18.15-19.00,8
62-1.47-2.31,5-3.16  -4.01-4.48-5.35-6.21-7.09-7.58-8.46-9.34-10.21-11.08  -11.56-12.47-13.37-14.25-15.12-15.59-16.46-17.33,5-18.18-19.02,5
1.Trygve Lundgreen   18.38,4
2.Kristian Strøm     18.42,5 pb
3.Stener Johannessen 18.45,9
4.Sigurd Syversen    18.51,9 pb
5.Ole Mamen          18.54,0 pb
6.Otto Christiansen  18.59,8
7.Martin Sæterhaug   19.00,8
8.Henning Olsen      19.02,5
9.Karl Gulbrandsen   19.45,5
Gunerius Schou and Thoralf Hansen dnf
Overall, Lundgreen seemed to have the best Berlin argument so far:
1.Trygve Lundgreen    5
2.Kristian Strøm      7
Sigurd Syversen       7
4.Martin Sæterhaug    9
Henning Olsen         9
6.Stener Johannessen 10
7.Otto Christiansen  12
8.Ole Mamen          13
9.Karl Gulbrandsen   18