Bronze medal vs copper.?

Question:today a question struck me out of the blue:
why is there a bronze medal as a reward for the second runner up in sports and not a copper one?
It seems to be the more obvious choice to me, being the third in the short list of 'precious metals', gold, silver and copper?
and as i started to think about it, a second question came up:
when did people start to use gold, silver and bronze to signify a ranking?
was it when the three medals were introduced, which i believe was for the first modern olympic games in 1896, or has there been earlier use of the combination?

can anyone elaborate on these?


Will Istanbul, Turkey put forth a bid for the 2016 Summer Olympics?

the reason that bronze was used over copper was the availability copper is sort of scare there is more bronze in the world and a second thing is that bronze is more durable and copper is a little more destructible it was started in the original Olympics back in the days of ancient grease/'/

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