The Bears' 2V8 placed second in its repechage in a close race to earn a spot in the A/B semifinals. (source)

This is a line from a Brown University sports team about a race. The Oxford Dictionaries, however, suggests that this sense requires the verb be used in the passive and that this is a British English usage.

(be placed) British
Achieve a specified position in a race.
‘he was placed eleventh in the long individual race’

M-W is very vague in this regard, including only this definition: "to earn a given spot in a competition, specifically : to come in second (as in a horse race)" This actually is also included in the ODO, but is apparently a different usage. (E.g. ‘he won three times and placed three times’)

So should it be

He placed second in the race


He was placed second in the race

Is this a BrE usage? Do Americans also say this? Is the difference between the passive and the active forms a BrE/AmE difference?

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    In the US, "He placed second in the race" (Never, "He was placed..."). Do not know about UK though. – Lorel C. Dec 18 '18 at 20:04
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    Can't speak for the whole UK but would always use was placed. Looks like one of those trans-Atlantic differences. – Ronald Sole Dec 18 '18 at 21:51
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    For additional confusion: "To place" by itself can mean to come in in the first 3-4 places or specifically in second place. Especially in the context of animal racing. – Ben Jackson Dec 19 '18 at 0:59
  • Thank you to all who has commented. My question has pretty much been answered. I wonder if someone could write up a comprehensive/fuller answer. – Eddie Kal Dec 19 '18 at 4:36

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