Oscar Mathisen
Speedskating - Oscar Diary


The weather was cold and calm under a blue sky at Øen Stadion in the Trøndish capital as the cup races started at 1:30 p.m. on March 7, 1914. The junior 500m, won by Einar Sæther in a new pb of 47,3, showed that the ice was of good quality. Oscar started in the first pair of the 5000m along with his clubmate Gunerius Schou, and felt like trying for the record. He got some help from Schou, who paced him for a few laps, then he had to do the job alone. The crowd was numerous for a Saturday, to the satisfaction of the club treasurer, and they cheered and applauded the champion’s steady, elegant strokes. Near the end Oscar received some help from Schou again until he lapped him in the final lap. He crossed the line and was flagged off, caught his breath and waited for the judgement of the watches. It proved not quite good enough, but 8.42,9 was a pretty fine time. Not a world record and a little behind Ippolitov’s rink record, too, but better than Skutnabb, so there.

In the 2nd pair Lundgreen and Sæterhaug skated side by side for several laps, but then the Trønder fell behind and eventually Lundgreen won by a 100 meters. In the last pair Aune had to skate alone as Melvin Johansen had withdrawn. A junior was asked to pace him for a few laps.

1.Oscar Mathisen     8.42,9
2.Trygve Lundgreen   9.04,1
3.Martin Sæterhaug   9.09,6
4.Sverre Aune        9.12,6
5.Gunerius Schou     9.37,6

The Saturday programme was concluded with a junior 1500m, won by Johan Sæterhaug in a new pb at 2.34,4.

On Sunday the Trøndish wintry weather, having been dismal so far this season, turned its best side out with brilliant sunshine, moderate frost and only the barest whiffs of wind. The rinkmaster was optimistic. “I dag blir det satt rekorda,” he said confidently (today, records will be set), “det går itj an anna. Isen e foillendt. No har sola nettopp virka så my på han at han ‘sveitta’, og då e han så glatt at rekordan kjem”. (Nothing else is thinkable. The ice is perfect. Now the sun has just affected it enough to make it ‘sweat’, and this makes it so smooth that records are inevitable.)

There were at least 3000 in the stands when the bell sounded for the start a quarter part 12. The first race was the 500m of the cup competition and the first pair was the home favourite Martin Sæterhaug against the newcomer Sverre Aune, who was well behind his clubmate on this distance as expected. But Sæterhaug’s start wasn’t as good as could be hoped for, and his 46,0 ought to have been better under these conditions. In the 2nd pair followed the KSK skaters Mathisen and Lundgreen. Here there was nothing lacking neither in the start nor the speed. Lundgreen at once was left behind, and the cheering crowd waved the champion on with hats and handkerchiefs and whatever was in their hands, hoping for the record. After the race there was a bit of waiting before the number 4 was hung on the board. Then followed a 3, applauded soundly, such a sight had never been seen here before. And what would come next? The national record was 43,7, the world record 43,4. But finally the 8 was hung, so no record, except the rink record. Fantastic anyway. Alone in the last pair, Schou improved his personal best to 46,2, a fine time, equal to 14th place in the all-time 500m list.

1.Oscar Mathisen     43,8 RR
2.Martin Sæterhaug   46,0
3.Gunerius Schou     46,2 pb
4.Trygve Lundgreen   47,2
5.Sverre Aune        49,4 eq. pb

1.Oscar Mathisen     2
2.Martin Sæterhaug   5
3.Trygve Lundgreen   6
4.Gunerius Schou     8
5.Sverre Aune        9

Then followed a junior 5000m where all of the 6 participants improved their pbs. The best ones were Johan Sæterhaug in 9.24,1 and Bjarne Granaas 9.26,4. As a prelude to the peak event of the day, the 1500m to decide the cup winner, Oscar Holthe gave a figure skating display that he received warm applause for from the audience.

The audience was unusually quiet when Oscar Mathisen and Martin Sæterhaug glided up to their starting points, tossed their coats off and took starting position, Mathisen in the inner lane. They had met here so many times before, and sometimes with Martin as the winner. The starter shouts “Gå!” and lowers his flag. And so began a race that generation after generation of Trønders were to have their ears full of from parents, grandparents and great-grandparents in the years to come. Oscar started in a murderous pace and made up a good bit of the difference before they entered the first curve. But his pairmate was alert, too, and chased him with all the speed he could wring out of his experienced body. He was close behind at 300 meter, and the difference did not increase much during the next lap in the frantic pace. A third lap and they still chased each other, Oscar, too, doing all he could to keep his rival behind. But at 1100 meters the duel seemed settled, and towards the end the difference increased to some 65 meters. After a fresh finish Oscar crossed the line in fine style, and the ones with watches on the stands made big eyes. Another sight they had never seen in their lives. Those without watches must have wondered, too. What could this amount to? The world record was 2.17,4. It wasn’t quite that fast, but a national record it was, 2.19,2. A glimpse of times yet to come. As it turned out, the record lasted until 1940. And it was a rink record until Clas Thunberg’s last attempt on 2.17,4 on Mar 1, 1931. Sæterhaug finished in 2.25,5, only 3/10 behind his lowland pb.

In the 2nd pair, Schou won a close race against Lundgreen in 2.28,0, a new pb, versus 2.29,0. Aune, who skated alone in the last pair, improved his pb substantially at 2.32,6, and climbed to 53rd place in Adelskalenderen while Schou climbed to 41st.

1.Oscar Mathisen     2.19,2 NR
2.Martin Sæterhaug   2.25,5
3.Gunerius Schou     2.28,0 pb
4.Trygve Lundgreen   2.29,0
5.Sverre Aune        2.32,6 pb

1.Oscar Mathisen     3
2.Martin Sæterhaug   7
3.Trygve Lundgreen  10
4.Gunerius Schou    11
5.Sverre Aune       14

The club had planned to give the cup winner two small gold medals, but changed their minds and gave him one big one instead.

The last event of the day was a 1000m for skaters who had won no prizes yet. It was won by Marius Kosbøl in a good time, 1.49,1, enough for 46th place in the world all-time list.

In the Finnish championship at Viborg the same weekend, Bjarne Frang and Sigurd Syveren were entered in the guest class and Martinus Lørdahl in the masters class. Frang won both of the two shorter distances in 46,1 and 2.29,3, but Julius Skutnabb, the championship winner, set two new personal bests in 2.30,4 and 18.25,2, and climbed into 17th place in Adelskalenderen and 11th place in the lowland adelskalender. Wanna make a bet on Oscar M getting real trouble from him in the championships next year? Waldemar Bergström also set a fine new pb in the 10000m in 18.37,2. These two 10k times were good enough for 17th and 25th place respectively in the world all-time list.