Second place is the first loser.

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Second place is the first loser.

sports adage Coming in second place means you have still ultimately failed to win in the end. Popularized by (and often credited to) race car driver Dale Earnhardt, Sr. (1951–2001). You go out into that ring and you give it absolutely everything you've got! After all, second place is the first loser!
See also: first, place, second