Peder Østlund

1872-1939
Behind Lerkendal football stadium there is a somewhat forgotten little road called Peder Østlunds veg. Today there is not much about it to remind one of honour and glory. It was far different a century ago when Peder Østlund returned in triumph to Trondheim, having become World Skating Champion in Davos. World Champions were no daily occurrence back then. Apart from Wilhelm Henie (father of the famous figure skater Sonja Henie), who won a title in a bicycle championship some years previously, Peder Østlund was Norway’s very first world champion, regardless of discipline.
Peder was the son of a tailor, eventually taking over the family firm. Before he started that venture, he created quite a sensation in the sports field. Peder's remarkable results came in 1893, when he set a new world record at Hamar for the 1500 m. From 1894 to 1896 he stayed in the USA working as a tailor’s apprentice and training as a professional skater. In 1897 he returned to Trondheim, and on 7 February he set another of his total of ten world records: 500 m in 46.6, at the Museumsplass track! Then followed Østlund's best seasons, with world championship titles in 1898 and 1899, and European championships in 1899 and 1900.
Peder Østlund was a member of Trondhjems skøiteklub [Trondheim skating club], and for several years was one of the club’s leaders. Other than that, he operated a tailor’ shop with his brother Ole. Even though the remembrance of the old master seems to be neglected by the public authorities, it is comforting to see that Østlund's tailor shop is still in operation in Trondheim. The current owner is no longer called Østlund, but he at least has an eye for tradition.
Recommended reading: Tore Jacobsen: På skøyter i 100 år [On skates for a century]. Trondhjems skøiteklub 1876-1976. 1976.

Author: Einar Rædergård