The Paulsen brothers

Axel Paulsen made history in 1882, when he performed the jump that bears his name at a competition in Vienna. What’s less well known is that his brother was also there. In fact, they skated together. Demeter Diamantidi wrote a nice article previewing the competitors for the Allgemeine Sport-Zeitung. It was published the day before the competition began. Here’s what it had to say about them (translation my own).

The brothers Axel and Edwin Paulsen from Oslo, artistic skaters and most outstanding members of the ice club in Oslo, which has over 8000 members, are very interesting phenomena and attracted general attention in the morning hours with their truly classic joint program, in which it is often virtually impossible to separate them from each other due to the rapidity of the movements and the identical performances.

What was this “gemeinsame Production” (joint program)? It sounds like a pairs program! I’ve run across mentions of women skating pairs together, but two men skating together is unusual. The Syerses note that the ISU regulations allow pairs to be mixed or similar.

In the solo, Axel Paulsen portrayed himself by a positively phenomenal jump with a double twist on a backwards edge the like of which has never been seen before and a sensational sit spin with deep knee bend.

The achievements of these men in compulsory figures cannot be judged at this time, because they are very reserved in this respect. At a glance, one sees that the Haynes school is not without influence on their evolutions, although they do not seem to have copied every advantage that accompanied each of his movements and in which he is unmatched to this day.

I think this means they didn’t do the compulsory figures. They’re not mentioned in the section on figures in the follow-up article with the results.

D. Diamantidi, “Das grosse internationale Eisfest in Wien,” Allgemeine Sport-Zeitung, January 19, 1882, 48–49.

In the big international flat race six times around the track = an English mile = 1600 meters, Axel will give Mr. Aune much to do, because although he is much smaller, he has developed fabulous speed and endurance. He wished the track was longer.

Our ice master, Hussek, described him in his original way as a “young locomotive”; overall, the Paulsen brothers have stolen the hearts of the entire staff at the Vienna Skating Club.

Axel did win the big speed race. Edwin challenged Callie Curtis in a race for professionals.


Demeter Diamantidi. “Das grosse internationale Eisfest in Wien.” Allgemeine Sport-Zeitung, January 19, 1882, 48–49.

Demeter Diamantidi. “Internationales Preis-Figuren Eislauffn [sic]: Wien gewinnt!” Allgemeine Sport-Zeitung, January 26, 1882, 69–70.

“Das internationale Preis-Wett-Eislaufen.” Allgemeine Sport-Zeitung, January 26, 1882, 70–71.

Edgar Syers and Madge Syers, eds. 1908. The Book of Winter Sports. London: Edward Arnold.