Oscar Mathisen
Speedskating - Oscar Diary

Still the invincible

I haven’t found any comprehensive accounts from the 2nd day of the races for the Frogner rink challenge trophy. But it seems the weather conditions were better than the day before. Still the crowds were surprisingly small. Apparently 2/3 of the stands are said to be empty, indicating that the spectators numbered less than 10000. It seems Ippolitov and Skutnabb were missed after all. Or maybe the club had increased the ticket prices. But those who did pay for them got their money’s worth.

As usual Oscar was paired with Bjarne Frang in the 1500m, just like yesterday in the 10k, and very probably the race proceded in the usual manner, too, with the usual brilliant technical display from Oscar, Frang hanging on well for the first two laps but dropping off in the latter half of the race. Their times were 2.23,2 and 2.30,0. Henning Olsen also was drawn with Sæterhaug like the day before, and beat him, contrary to habit. Apparently he had found his form again and had been smart enough to avoid using up much of it in the 10000m the day before. The difference was big, too: 2.26,8 vs. 2.29,8. Strøm was not challenged at all by Schou, but made a fine race, clocking 2.28,5, the only pb in the distance. Syversen also skated well, paired with Hansen: 2.30,3. Aune outskated his pairmate Gulbrandsen, too, and equalled Frang’s time. Ole Mamen skated alone and made 2.33,5.

Results 1500m:
1.Oscar Mathisen      2.23,2
2.Henning Olsen       2.26,8
3.Kristian Strøm      2.28,5 pb
4.Martin Sæterhaug    2.29,8
5.Bjarne Frang        2.30,0
Sverre Aune           2.30,0
7.Sigurd Syversen     2.30,3
8.Ole Mamen           2.33,5
9.Thoralf Hansen      2.35,8
10.Gustav Gulbrandsen 2.36,5
11.Gunerius Schou     2.39,1
1.Oscar Mathisen       4
2.Kristian Strøm      12
3.Martin Sæterhaug    14
Henning Olsen         14
5.Bjarne Frang        14,5
6.Sverre Aune         15
7.Sigurd Syversen     19
8.Ole Mamen           22
9.Gunerius Schou      25
10.Gustav Gulbrandsen 25,5

In the 5000m there is only one pair that I can describe at any length. The others proceeded as follows: Kristian Strøm beat Ole Mamen by 8.53,3 vs. 9.08,2. Martin Sæterhaug beat Sigurd Syversen by 9.09,0 vs. 9.22,7. Bjarne Frang was surprisingly good against Gustav Gulbrandsen and beat his Davos pb substantially with 9.16,0. Gulbrandsen with 9.21,3 also improved his pb. And Henning Olsen again showed his best form in a good while, beat Hansen by more than a lap and finished in 4th place: 8.59,1.

In the remaining pair, Oscar Mathisen and Sverre Aune finally were to meet head to head. All the questions raised by 8.33,8 were finally to be answered. Especially it was the opportunity to prove once and for all that he still was the invincible and not one that had to yield to the young. Unlike last Sunday, it was not a tactical race, that is, the tactics were: all out from the start. Probably Kristian Strøm already had skated 8.53,3, or he may have joined in the fray, too. Soon it was clear that the world record was endangered. For the first lap the rivals kept pace with each other, and for another, and another. Then in the fourth lap, the champion was significantly ahead. The noise from the stands reached a maximum. Aune tried to strike back, but as much as he could accelerate in the straights, Oscar could accelerate in the curves, and the champion kept his advantage. Then, after the 6th lap it started to increase, and the matter was settled, it seemed. The record still was within reach. At the 8th split Oscar was ahead, and again at the 10th. But then he trailed off, concentrating on keeping the pair difference at 3-4 seconds until the finish line, which he crossed at 8.39,8. Aune clocked 8.44,1, vanquished by Oscar the invincible, who was applauded with a profusion resembling his top glory days.

Both Oscar himself in his memoirs and the newspapers hailed the time as a new rink record, so apparently, 8.37,2 had been thoroughly discredited by then. Unfortunately this applied to 8.33,8 as well, though in this case it was only paperwork that stopped it from registering as an official record. The club races had not been submitted for approval to the IEV in advance. Nothing else wrong with the time, though.

Aune sighed. He had done his best, but had been bested. Oh well, maybe next time, he thought. Times would tell.

Results 5000m:
1.Oscar Mathisen      8.39,8
2.Sverre Aune         8.44,1
3.Kristian Strøm      8.53,3
4.Henning Olsen       8.59,1
5.Ole Mamen           9.08,2
6.Martin Sæterhaug    9.09,0
7.Bjarne Frang        9.16,0 pb
8.Gustav Gulbrandsen  9.21,3 pb
9.Sigurd Syversen     9.22,7
10.Thoralf Hansen     9.58,7
Total points:
1.Oscar Mathisen       5
2.Kristian Strøm      14
3.Sverre Aune         16
4.Henning Olsen       18
5.Martin Sæterhaug    20
6.Bjarne Frang        21.5
7.Ole Mamen           26
8.Sigurd Syversen     27
9.Gustav Gulbrandsen  32.5

Thus, Oscar had done it, proved once and for all that he still was the invincible. And thus he also felt that he had done his duty for the season and saw no reason to put his invincibility to the test once again. This one had been taxing enough, and there was this family life of his that also demanded and deserved some attention. Any participation from his side in the Nordic Cup races in Stockholm next week was out of the question. That’s what he said last year, too, of course, but this time it was really out of the question. The team selected for Stockholm then was Bjarne Frang, Henning Olsen, Ole Mamen and Sigurd Syversen. At least the first two were in good shape, and Mamen seemed to have potential in the longer distances. Syversen perhaps could do something in the 1500m. Still it was feared that the strong Finns would outdo them and win the cup outright. They had won the two last times.

Henning Olsen’s kid brother, the 17 years old Oskar, also had started giving skating a little more seriously attention this season, having made 50,2 and 2.49,2 earlier and this Wednesday did his first 5000m at 9.47,7, finishing 4th after the promising 19 years old Frithjof Paulsen at 9.26,0 and the equally promising 18 years olds Hans Trygve Hansen at 9.31,4 and Rolv Hellum at 9.38,3, all setting new personal bests.

In the same weekend, four full combinations were skated in Gävle, Kungsör, Norrköping and Stockholm, and a bunch of new Swedes found their places in Adelskalenderen. The precocious teenager Melvin Johansen was in Stockholm to get some more international experience, but he couldn’t beat the best Swede, Paul Zerling, who saved the Swedes from that humiliation. And the weather was poor and the times not remarkable.

In Petrograd however the conditions were good, and in the Russian Championship this weekend, a new star was born. Out of the blue he won all the distances, only the 1500m he shared with Platon Ippolitov, who finished 2nd overall. His times, 46,8 - 9.10,4 - 2.27,2 - 19.01,0, were all smashing new pbs, and he jumped straight into Adelskalenderen in 33rd place. Possibly one to look out for in the future. His name, you say? Jakov Melnikov!