What does the phrase 'placed as a close second' mean?

Question:does this mean that i was nearly second (and was actually third) or that i was second and came close to first?

First, second and third are "placers" in a race - all the others after that are just loosers. A "close second" is someone/thing that almost won, or, in other words, lost by just a small amount. Hope that helps..
Second close to first. :-)
it means you were second and close to first or second by just a little and escaped being third
it comes from horse racing. 1st, 2nd and 3rd places are called, respectively, win, place and show.

so placing is 2nd place.

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