Cornelia Bürki (born October 3, 1953 in Humansdorp, South Africa) is a retired long-distance runner who represented Switzerland in three consecutive Summer Olympics, starting in 1980. She moved to Switzerland from South Africa in 1973. She is a 47-time Swiss national outdoor champion, which includes a fifteen-year undefeated streak in cross country and fifteen consecutive titles over 1500 metres, from 1975 to 1989. She was voted the Swiss Sports Personality of the Year in 1978. That year she finished fifth in the long race at the 1978 IAAF World Cross Country Championships. She also came 6th in the 3000 meters at the Europe Championships in Prague and 8th in the 1500 meters. She ran new Swiss records in both the events.
At her Olympic debut in the 1980 Summer Olympics, she finished seventh in her semi-final over 1500 metres. That year she also won the women's 7 km race at the inaugural Greifenseelauf. She ran at the 1983 World Championships in Athletics, finishing tenth and eleventh in the 1500 m and 3000 metres, respectively. She was fifth in the women's 3000 m at the 1984 Summer Olympics and also took fifth in the long race at the 1985 IAAF World Cross Country Championships. She was selected to represent Switzerland at the 1986 European Athletics Championships, and finished seventh in the 3000 m final. That season she was ranked third over 1500 m in the IAAF Grand Prix Final.
She was seventh in the long race at the 1987 IAAF World Cross Country Championships, and just missed out on a global medal on the track later that year, taking fourth place in the 1500 and 3000 meters m at the 1987 World Championships in Athletics. She managed in the 1500 meters to break the 4 minutes barrier. After bad luck with a severe upper leg injury, she still managed to qualify for her final Olympics in 1988 in Seoul, where she competed in both the 1500 m and 3000 m races. She was eliminated in the preliminary rounds in the former event, but went on to finish in eleventh in the 3000 m final. She was also the national flag-bearer for Switzerland at the event. Bürki's career was marked by injuries and close defeats. At a World Championships event in Rome she missed medaling in the 3000 meters by just 1/100 second. At the cross Swiss country championships in 1988 she slipped and pulled the Sartorius muscle so badly that she was unable to train for weeks. She still managed to qualify for the Olympics in Seoul, although the injury caused problems for the next two years, until she officially retired from running.
Cornelia is the owner of a bed and breakfast in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. Since 1981, she has been the primary care-giver of her daughter Esther, who was in a coma for six months after a car accident and is permanently wheelchair-bound. She is also coaching middle distance runners Hugo Santacruz, Swiss Champion 800m and Mario Bächtiger, Swiss Champion 1500m in her hometown Rapperswil.
- Swiss Championships. GBR Athletics. Retrieved on 2010-09-22.
- Swiss Sportlerin des Jahres. Swiss Sports Personality of the Year. Retrieved on 2010-09-22.
- IAAF Grand Prix Final. GBR Athletics. Retrieved on 2010-09-22.
- Cornelia Bürki. Sports-reference. Retrieved on 2010-09-22.
- At Sta Plus Bed and Breakfast
|Flagbearer for Switzerland
|Swiss Sportswoman of the Year