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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

or

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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