Speed Skating Hall of Fame

Charles Mathiesen

Born: February 12, 1911 - Drammen (NOR)
Died: November 7, 1994 - Drammen (NOR)

Charles Mathiesen was a Norwegian speed skater. He was born in the city of Drammen, which is the hometown of multiple Olympics skaters such as Koss and Stensen. Mathiesen skated his first international tournament at the World Allround Championships in 1933. He ended up in the 8th place. In the following years Mathiesen kept climbing his way up in the overall classification of the World Championships : in 1934 he finished sixth, in 1935 fifth, in 1937 fourth and in 1938 third. In 1938 Mathiesen won an Allround title : he became European Champion.

At the 1936 Olympics Mathiesen started at the 1500, 5000 and the 10000 meters. His Norwegian rival Ballungrud won the gold on the 5k, the 10k and the 500 meters as well. Ballungrud would have won all four distances at the Olympics if it weren’t for Mathiesen outracing him on the 1500 meters. Mathiesen skated an incredible race and beated Ballungrud by exactly one second. His time of 2.19.2 was an Olympic record.

Mathiesen didn’t have as much success in his own country. During his career he had to compete with several amazing Norwegian speed skaters. This resulted in the fact that Mathiesen never became National Allround Champion. He did however win multiple podium places. Mathiesen received three bronze medals and a total of six silver medals. His silver medals earned him the name of the ‘eternal second’.

At the 1938 World Allround Championships Mathiesen came close to becoming a world record holder. He skated a time of 17:14.4 on the 10000 meters, which was exactly the same time as his direct opponent Ballungrud. However, Ballungrud got the world record. Two years later Mathiesen got his revenge : he skated 17:01.5, a world record that would take a long time to beat.

During World War II no allround tournaments were held. Mathiesen continued his speed skating career after the ending of the war. The Norwegian competed at two more national allround championships, becoming second again, and went to the 1948 Olympics in St. Moritz. Sadly enough the Olympics didn’t end well for Mathiesen. He collapsed in the middle of his 5000 meters race due to the low oxygen level and had to be taken to a hospital.

Rianne Mense, December 1, 2013


Career summary


Podia at championships

yearpositionchampionshipplace
19361 Olympic Winter Games 1500 metersGarmisch-PartenkirchenGER
2 European Championship AllroundOsloNOR
19383 World Championship AllroundDavosSUI
1 European Championship AllroundOsloNOR
19393 World Championship AllroundHelsinkiFIN
2 European Championship AllroundRigaLAT

World Records

#disciplinerecorddateplace
110,000 meters17:01.5Mar 3, 1940HamarNOR

Personal Bests

distancetimedateplace
500m0:43.2Feb 20, 1940OsloNOR
1000m1:32.0Mar 2, 1940HamarNOR
1500m2:15.6Jan 27, 1939DavosSUI
3000m4:50.6Feb 10, 1940BergenNOR
5000m8:18.7Mar 2, 1940HamarNOR
10,000m17:01.5Mar 3, 1940HamarNOR