Tonja Buford-Bailey
Personal information
Full nameTonja Yvette Buford-Bailey
BornDecember 13, 1970 (1970-12-13) (age 53)
Dayton, Ohio, U.S.
Medal record
Women's athletics (track and field)
Representing  United States
Olympic Games
Bronze medal – third place 1996 Atlanta 400 m hurdles
World Championships
Silver medal – second place 1995 Gothenburg 400 m hurdles

Tonja Yvette Buford-Bailey (born December 13, 1970, in Dayton, Ohio) is an American former athlete who competed mainly in the 400 meter hurdles. She competed as Tonja Buford until marrying Victor Bailey on October 28, 1995. In 1982, when she was 12 years old, she met former track runner Wilma Rudolph. She attended Meadowdale High School in Dayton and the University of Illinois.[1][2]

Her best result came in the 1995 World Championships held in Gothenburg, Sweden where she won the silver medal in the 400-meter hurdles, losing to compatriot Kim Batten by only 0.01 seconds. With times of 52.61 and 52.62, both athletes went under Sally Gunnell's old world record of 52.74 from the previous edition of the World Championships. That time would remain Buford's personal best, and is still the ninth quickest of all time.[3]

The following year, she competed for the United States in the 1996 Summer Olympics held in Atlanta, U.S., where she won the bronze medal in the 400 meter hurdles behind Jamaica's Deon Hemmings and Batten.

She went on to have some further successes, only just missing out on a bronze medal at the 2001 World Championships[4] and winning her event at the IAAF Grand Prix Final that year.[5]

Buford-Bailey is the men and women's track and field Sprint and Relay coach at the University of Texas, Austin, beginning in June 2013. Buford-Bailey was the head women's track and field coach at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.[6] She has two children and her husband is Victor Bailey, a former American football player.

International competitions

All results regarding 400 metres hurdles.

Year Competition Venue Position Notes
Representing  United States
1991 Pan American Games Havana, Cuba 3rd 57.81
1992 Olympic Games Barcelona, Spain 10th (sf) 55.04
1993 World Championships Stuttgart, Germany 5th 54.55
1995 Pan American Games Mar del Plata, Argentina 2nd 55.05
World Championships Gothenburg, Sweden 2nd 52.62
Grand Prix Final Fontvieille, Monaco 2nd 53.69
1996 Olympic Games Atlanta, United States 3rd 53.22
1997 World Championships Athens, Greece 6th 54.77
2000 Olympic Games Sydney, Australia 18th (h) 57.02
2001 World Championships Edmonton, Canada 4th 54.55
Grand Prix Final Melbourne, Australia 1st 54.58

(#) Indicates overall result in the qualifying heats (h) or semifinals (sf).


  1. ^ "Tonja Buford-Bailey". USA Track & Field. Retrieved December 31, 2016.
  2. ^ "Track & Field Significant Figures". Dayton Area Sports History. Retrieved December 31, 2016.
  3. ^ "Toplists w400h". IAAF. Retrieved 2011-01-22.
  4. ^ "Edmonton '01 Results". IAAF. Retrieved 2011-01-22.
  5. ^ "Results – IAAF Grand Prix Final 2001". IAAF. Retrieved 2011-01-22.
  6. ^ Pearson, Mike (December 13, 2020). "Illini Legends, Lists & Lore: Tonja Buford-Bailey by the numbers". The News-Gazette. Community Media Group. Retrieved October 7, 2021.