I am writing about a competition I won in which I got third place. I want to say that I am the first out of my school to get an award in this competition, with a third place award but that sounds a little bulky. What would be a short phrase or word to describe this. I am thinking maybe I can say "I placed in the competition" but I am not sure that will work.

  • Did you get a ribbon? You can say you got a third-place ribbon. If you didn't get a ribbon, you can say you finished third, or in third place. – pazzo Jun 4 '15 at 4:33
  • yes, it's "placed". the horse placed, the runner placed. – Fattie Jun 4 '15 at 5:32
  • I thoughy it was win, place, show respectively for first, second and third in a horse race. – Brian Hitchcock Jun 5 '15 at 11:21
  • Win, place, and show is limited to the horse racing (or dog racing possibly) context. There are multiple ways to express this in competitions: Winner, 1st runner-up, 2nd runner-up, etc. 1st place, 2nd place, 3rd place, 1st prize, 2nd prize, etc. In your example it may help to say how many were competing, because if you came in 3rd place out of three, that is quite different that third place out of 100, or however many. I suggest saying, 3rd place winner out of x competing, something along those lines. In the Olympics as you know it is a gold, silver, or bronze, but all of them are medalists. – user298431 May 14 '18 at 0:31

You're perfectly right, we use the general term "place".

I was the first in my school to place in the annual spelling bee.

You could also use "award" without specifying which.

I won an award at the annual poker competition.

For the Olympics, since they award medals, they use "medaled".

He medaled in three events at the 2000 Olympics.

  • OK, thanks for the quick response! I will have to wait a few minutes before marking as an answer though. – Krikor Ailanjian Jun 4 '15 at 4:14
  • Please, don't worry about accepting right away. It's best to wait to see if others have additional ideas or disagree with mine. – Catija Jun 4 '15 at 4:15
  • First, second, and third are called win, place, and show (in horse racing) so saying you placed might be seen as inconsistent with getting third place. – Mitch Jun 4 '15 at 14:47

The correct term is runner up: the competitors who do not win a contest but who place ahead of the majority of the contestants and share in prizes or honors, as those who place second, third, and fourth, or in the top ten.

'I was the first person from my school to be a runner up in the competition'.

  • Well, obviously you misunderstood. others have won, I was the 1st to be a runner up is a perfectly valid thing to say if you finish 3rd. – Tushar Raj Jun 4 '15 at 14:12

In competitions consisting of multiple rounds or stages of competition which progressively narrow the pool of competitors, it is sometimes acceptable to use the term "broke," "broke into," or "advanced to" to describe making it to the next stage.

"My basketball team broke the finals at the local competition." "I broke into finals at the baking competition." "The young competitor advanced to the finals at the spelling bee."

All of these imply that the competitor "placed" in the final round of competition, but signify the action of progressing moreso than the placement itself.

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