What Do the Acronyms "OR" and "WR" Mean in the Context of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020?

What does "OR" mean in the context of the Summer Olympic Games? The two-letter acronym stands for a simple but momentous concept.

Leila Kozma - Author

Jul. 29 2021, Published 3:38 p.m. ET

Olympic Games Tokyo 2020
Source: Getty Images

One of the most-followed sports events, the Summer Olympic Games, celebrates the jaw-dropping achievements of 11,091 athletes competing in more than 40 disciplines. Spanning across two weeks or so, the event spotlights the arduous work of the likes of Caeleb Dressel, Sky Brown, and many other top athletes. If you have been closely following the events from home, you will have likely spotted signs like "OR" or "WR" on the TV screen. What do the acronyms stand for?

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So, what does "OR" stand for in the Olympics?

The two-letter acronym stands for something monumental. "OR" stands for "Olympic record." As such, it denotes the instance at which an athlete breaks a previously-held record in the Olympics. It's very much the stuff of history books unfolding in real-time.

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Some of the Team USA contestants who broke Olympic Records over the past few days include Caeleb Dressel, who came first in the men's 100-meter freestyle held on July 28, 2021, in 47.02 seconds, 0.56 seconds shorter than Kyle Chalmers, who last set the Olympic record at the Olympic Games Rio 2016. Likewise, William Shaner set a new Olympic record on July 25, 2021, after winning the men's 10-meter air rifle with 251.6 points.

The most-decorated Olympian, Michael Phelps, wasted no time when it came to setting new Olympic records. In addition to collecting some 28 medals during his career — of which 18 are gold medals — Michael set several Olympic records.

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Source: Twitter

So, what does "WR" stand for?

Much like "OR" or Olympic record, "WR" denotes a rarer occasion. "WR" stands for World record.

The U.S. Olympic athletes boast a handful of heavyweights in this respect. Take swimmer Katie Ledecky, who currently holds the World records in the 400, 800, and 1,500-meter freestyle. The last time Katie beat a world record was on Thursday, July 28, 2021, at the women's 4x200-meter freestyle, where the Team USA came in second place. (Team China won.)

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One of the most successful swimmers of all time, Michael Phelps also set 39 (let me repeat: 39!) world records during his career. He still holds four. Let's not forget that he retired in 2016.

Source: Instagram / Team U.S.
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Currently, Team USA ranks in the third place in the overall medal count.

Team USA has scored 14 gold, 14 silver, and 10 bronze medals so far. Sunisa Lee, Lee Kiefer, William Shaner, Vincent Hancock, and Amber English are just some of the athletes who scored at least one gold medal.

Meanwhile, the women's gymnastics team scored a silver medal following Simone Biles' withdrawal from the team event. Other athletes to be awarded a silver medal include Kayle Browning, Jay Litherland, and Emma Weyant.

Out of the 10 bronze medals, one went to Ryan Murphy, one to Lilly King, and two to Hali Flickinger. To the superficial observer, it might appear as though the swimming team is dominating the charts. This might still change in the course of the next few days.

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