I only caught this during yesterday's Olympic broadcast. For the men's decathlon, for the 1500m event, it showed in the upper left of the screen:

WB: 4 min and change
OB: 4 min and change

I'm wondering what does OB and WB stand for? I saw OR and WR for other events (track, swimming), which is Olympic Record and World Record respectively so I assume OB and WB is Olympic B-something and World B-something.

Thanks in advance.


2 Answers 2


OB stands for "Olympic Best" :-)

Q. Some of the times in the heptathlon were marked 'WB' and 'OB' instead of 'WR' and 'OR'. What's the difference? Mrs G Winkworth

A. World records are rare in the heptathlon. The athletes are all-rounders, but not necessarily the world's finest in each discipline. So the "world best" score or time means the best in that event during a heptathlon. Ditto "Olympics best". It is the same in the decathlon.



For many sports, there are official records kept for the best performances by the sport's governing body. As an example, the world record for 100m dash is ratified by World Athletics. When they exist, they will be indicated with OR for olympic record and WR for world record.

There are some cases where no such records are kept. The question refers to the decathlon. While there are official records for best decathlon score, there are not official records for the individual events within as a decathlon participant.

Another example are the rowing events. Because individual races are strongly influenced by the weather, official record times are not recognized by FISA.

When these official records don't exist, the best times that meet some criteria may be displayed with OB (olympic best) or WB (world best). The olympic website has some other initialisms in use (like ODB for olympic decathlon best and OHB for olympic heptathlon best), but I've not seen those used on broadcast graphics myself.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.