Oscar Mathisen
Speedskating - Oscar Diary

Farewell—to amateurism

The news reaching the public on January 14th that Oscar Mathisen had ended his skating career spread from mouth to mouth in frantic speed throughout the wartime Norwegian society. The Drammensers, who had made a nice sum after his visit in December, grew long-faced and grim-mouthed as they sat down to rewrite their budget for the national chamionship later that month. The doors in Oscar’s home flapped on their hinges and his mailbox swelled under the weight of more or less vehement pleads to appear again if only at just one more meet. Meanwhile in secrecy he entered contract negotiations with the well-known impresario Alfred E. Johnson of Minnesota, the manager of Harry Paulsen, Alfred Næss and others who were allegedly making piles from their sporting proficiencies.

Finally moved by the weeping and gnashing of teeth from his own club board members, Oscar gave in and agreed to skate at their international races on Jan 22nd and 23rd. Kristian Strøm was getting dangerously good, and it was imperative for Oscar to avoid stains on his champion reputation now that he was right in the middle of his pro contract negotiations. But in gratitude to the club that had fostered him, he would take his chances at this one meet.

For all the skating fans of Kristiania and surrounding areas the days leading up to the Frogner international races crept by in a pace like a snail on a fly paper. But when the days finally dawned it was as if everything had conspired to make the event as memorable as possible. The rain and southerly storm of the day before had blown away and the Sun came out shining from a cloudless sky. It was hardly any wind, and suitably cold. The attendance was like the big meets in the good old days—the club treasurer carried big loads to his counting-house. Good old Zakken had prepared the ice with love and care, and the facilities were embellished with flags and spruce boughs, proper for the occasion.

Oscar in the 500m start, from Tidens Tegn

The European unrest continued, and it proved impossible to get any foreigners to travel to the international meet. However, all the Norwegian elite skaters were present, and their achievements last winter and so far this one indicated that Oscar was going to have the biggest run for his money since the days of Ippolitov. When the races started, Kristian Strøm again impressed in the 500m, improving his pb for the 2nd time this season, indicating that he was getting to grips with this distance was well. But his 46,1 was easily brushed off by Oscar, who swished through it in 44,9, equal to his season best. However, Henning Olsen, who fell and stopped his regular race, came menacingly close in an extra race, clocked to 45,1.

1.Oscar Mathisen, KSK        44,9
2.Kristian Strøm, Hortens SK 46,1 pb
3.Gustav Gulbrandsen, KSK    47,2 eq. pb
4.Theodor Pedersen, KSK      47,4 pb
5.Sverre Aune, TSK           47,7
Sigurd Syversen, KSK         47,7
7.Magnus Herseth, KSK        47,8
8.Karl Gulbrandsen, KSK      48,1 pb
9.Wilhelm Wolff, KSK         48,2 pb
10.Ole Mamen, KSK            48,3
11.Melvin Johansen, Hamar SK 49,2
Henning Olsen, KSK fell, dnf
ooc Henning Olsen, KSK       45,1

The juniors skated a 1500 m, and the top 3 posted excellent times. The winner Frithjof Paulsen beat the new junior record of Hans Trygve Hansen from last weekend, and both he and the runner-up, the new “Oscar”, Henning Olsen’s brother Oskar Olsen, looked like fabulous prospects.

1500m junior:
1.Frithjof Paulsen, KSK     2.30,9 pb
2.Oskar Olsen, KSK          2.32,4 pb
3.Hans Trygve Hansen, KSK   2.33,6
4.Sverre Jacobsen, Hamar SK 2.36,2 pb
5.Adelsten Fyhn, KSK        2.38,0
6.Asbjørn Pedersen, KSK     2.39,1 pb
7.Alf Larsen, KSK           2.40,9 pb
8.Rolv Hellum, KSK          2.41,7 pb

As Henning Olsen had paid them the courtesy of falling, the audience now were faced with the spectacle of a Kristian Strøm and Oscar Mathisen duel in the 10000m that turned out to be pretty good value for their money. The duel was long undecided. Lap by lap they skated side by side. Any difference was quickly made up, though the pace was high. A time in the 17s looked possible. Some cheered for Oscar, some cheered for Strøm. “Don’t give in!” “Keep it up!” Then in the last few laps the Oscar fans, incredulous, saw the Hortenser pull away to win the pair by 30 meters. Was the turning point at hand? Would the hegemony change hands now? Strøm beat his pb by 21.7 seconds and climbed to 6th place in Adelskalenderen, only Oscar, Ippolitov, Strunnikov, Bohrer and Østlund ahead of him, skaters of the topmost rank. More than half of the other skaters also improved their 10000m pbs. Not unexpectedly also Sverre Aune distinguished himself and Ole Mamen made a huge improvement, climbing to 19th place in the world all-time list and to 29th place in Adelskalenderen. A breakthrough for him.

1.Kristian Strøm, Hortens SK 18.03,7 pb
2.Oscar Mathisen, KSK        18.07,1
3.Sverre Aune, TSK           18.12,5 pb
4.Ole Mamen, KSK             18.19,6 pb
5.Henning Olsen, KSK         18.45,0
6.Gustav Gulbrandsen, KSK    18.49,7 pb
7.Theodor Pedersen, KSK      19.14,0 pb
8.Melvin Johansen, Hamar SK  19.19,9 pb
9.Sigurd Syversen, KSK       19.25,5
10.Karl Gulbrandsen, KSK     19.54,6
11.Wilhelm Wolff, KSK        20.27,2 pb
Magnus Herseth, KSK dnf
1.Kristian Strøm, Hortens SK 3
Oscar Mathisen, KSK          3
3.Gustav Gulbrandsen, KSK    7
4.Sverre Aune, TSK           8.5
5.Theodor Pedersen, KSK     10
6.Ole Mamen, KSK            13
7.Sigurd Syversen, KSK      13.5
8.Karl Gulbrandsen, KSK     17
Melvin Johansen, Hamar SK   17
10.Wilhelm Wolff, KSK       18

Meanwhile the Russian national championship was held at Deviche Pole in Moscow. The new top skater Melnikov was busy elsewhere, but another previously unknown skater broke through, winning the 47,2 along with Platon Ippolitov and holding 2nd place overall after day one behind him.

1.Platon Ippolitov, Moskva    47,2 eq. pb
Vladimir Kalinin, Petrograd   47,2 pb
3.A Nefedov, Moskva           48,4
4.A Gazenfus, Riga            49,6 pb
5.Sergej Kurbatov, Moskva     49,8

The only other known result is the 51,0 by Arthur Kukk of Tallinn, also a pb. Ippolitov won the 5000m, too.

1.Platon Ippolitov, Moskva    9.07,5
2.Vladimir Kalinin, Petrograd 9.27,4 pb
3.Nikolaj Ivanov, Moskva      9.36,6 pb
4.A Nefedov, Moskva           9.38,8
5.Sergej Kurbatov, Moskva     9.40,0

Even here Mr. Kukk set a new personal best in 9.53,0.

The Finns had two national races in Helsinki, one arranged by the Swedish language club Helsingfors SK and another by the Finnish language club Urheiluseura Kaleva. The HSK meet was held in the northern harbour, and Clas Thunberg was #1 after the first day. The conditions were good, with several personal bests.

1.Clas Thunberg      46,4 eq. pb
2.Väinö Wickström    46,9
3.Walter Tverin      47,6
4.Ilmari Danska      47,8 pb
5.Julius Skutnabb    49,0
6.Alfred Strömstén   49,4 pb
7.Axel Lindholm      49,7
8.Waldemar Bergström 49,9
9.Emil Wilhelmsson   50,1 pb
Arvo Jalovaara       50,1
Gösta Strömstén      50,1 pb
12.P Forsberg        50,8 pb
1.Julius Skutnabb    9.05,5
2.Clas Thunberg      9.10,9
3.Waldemar Bergström 9.11,2
4.Väinö Wickström    9.12,6
5.Alfred Strömstén   9.18,4 pb
6.Walter Tverin      9.21,4
7.Arvo Jalovaara     9.22,2
8.Gösta Strömstén    9.31,6
9.Axel Lindholm      9.36,3
10.Ilmari Danska     9.47,5
11.P Forsberg        9.49,3 pb
12.Emil Wilhelmsson 10.07,8
1.Clas Thunberg       3
2.Julius Skutnabb     6
Väinö Wickström       6
4.Walter Tverin       9
5.Waldemar Bergström 11
Alfred Strömstén     11
7.Ilmari Danska      14
8.Axel Lindholm      16
9.Arvo Jalovaara     17
10.Gösta Strömstén   18
11.Emil Wilhelmsson  22
12.P Forsberg        23

The Kaleva meet took place in Kaisaniemi bay, with Arvo Tuomainen from Tampere as the dominant:

1.Arvo Tuomainen, Pyrintö Tampere 47,3
2.Atte Lindqvist, Kaleva          49,7 pb
3.Lauri Brander, HKV              50,1 pb
4.Eino Wikström, HKV              50,2
5.Alfred Jokinen, Pyrintö         51,0
6.P Immell, HKV                   51,2
7.Y Virtanen                      52,8 pb
8.Hjalmar Tuomi, Pyrintö          55,8
1.Arvo Tuomainen  9.29,2
2.Hjalmar Tuomi   9.32,8
3.Eino Wikström   9.35,7
4.Atte Lindqvist  9.36,2
5.Lauri Brander   9.36,7 pb
6.Alfred Jokinen 10.34,4 pb
7.P Immell       10.37,2 pb
8.Y Virtanen     10.41,9 pb
1.Arvo Tuomainen  2
2.Atte Lindqvist  6
3.Eino Wikström   7
4.Lauri Brander   8
5.Hjalmar Tuomi  10
6.Alfred Jokinen 11
7.P Immell       13
8.Y Virtanen     15

In Sweden a Stockholm district championship was held on Östermalms IP. Paul Zerling, the top Swedish skater the last two seasons, was 1st after day one with 48,8 in the 500m where he finished 2nd, and winning the 5000m in 9.26,5. Gustaf Wiberg, in great progress since last season, won the 500m in 47,4, a huge improvement of his pb, good enough for 57th place in the all-time list.