|Competitor for Uganda|
|Gold||1972 Munich||400 m hurdles|
|Gold||1973 Lagos||400 m hurdles|
|Silver||1978 Algiers||400 m hurdles|
Having been raised in a large family, including 43 children, Akii-Bua started his athletic career as a hurdler on the short distance. Coached by British-born athletics coach Malcolm Arnold, he was introduced to the 400 m hurdles. After finishing 4th in the 1970 Commonwealth Games and running the fastest season time in 1971, he was not a big favourite for the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, having limited competition experience. Nevertheless he won the final there, running the inside lane, setting a world record time of 47.82 seconds. He missed the 1976 Olympics and a show down with American rival Edwin Moses due to a boycott by African nations including Uganda.
As a police officer, Akii-Bua was promoted by Ugandan president Idi Amin, and given a house, as a reward for his athletic prowess. When the Amin regime was collapsing, he fled to Kenya with his family, fearful that he would be seen as a collaborator; this was more likely because he was a member of the Langi tribe, many of whom were persecuted by Amin, whereas Akii-Bua was cited by Amin as an example of a Langi who was doing well. However, in Kenya he was put into a refugee camp. From there, he was freed by his shoe-manufacturer Puma and lived in Germany working for Puma for 3–4 years before returning to Uganda and becoming a coach.
Akii-Bua died a widower, at the age of 47, survived by 11 of his children. He was given a state funeral.
His nephew is international footballer David Obua.
- "Personalities at Olympics: Akii-Bua the Best in Vest". The New York Times. 4 Sep 1972. pp. 10 Section: Sports. "He in one of a family of 43 children. His father had eight wives."
- IAAF, June 5, 2008: Inzikuru to return to action in Akii Bua CAA Grand Prix
- "John Akii-Bua, 47 Is Dead; Ugandan Won Olympic Gold". The New York Times. 25 June 1997. p. D20. "Amin was purging the Lango tribe, and Akii-Bua was Lango"
- The John Akii-Bua Story: an African Tragedy, documentary by Dan Gordon, BBC2 10th August 2008
|Men's 400 m Hurdles Best Year Performance
1972 – 1973