Olympic gold medallist sued by parents
Thursday, 13 September 2012
September 13 - Olympic gold medallist Tianna Madison is being sued by her parents, who claim that she spread stories they had been selfish and bullying and cheated her financially.
Robert and Jo Ann Madison, who live in Elyria, Ohio, filed the libel, slander and defamation lawsuit in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court in Cleveland.
They claim that they have been loving, supportive and generous parents.
Madison, 27, was on the winning 4x100 metres relay track team London 2012 alongside Allyson Felix, Bianca Knight and Carmelita Jeter, which set a world record time of 40.82sec, breaking East Germany's record which had stood for 27 years.
The lawsuit also names her husband, John Bartoletta.
The lawsuit states that Madison and Bartoletta have made false statements since March to the media.
The filing also alleges that Madison had falsely said that her parents mismanaged her finances, and knowingly allowed a boy who had molested her in the past to enter their home.
"Throughout her childhood, and into adulthood, Robert Madison and Jo Ann Madison have provided Tianna Madison with a loving, supportive and generous environment that has enabled her to achieve success as a sprinter, including her obtaining a gold medal at the 2012 Olympic Games, as well as achieving success in other athletic endeavours," the lawsuit claimed.
The parents' lawsuit seeks more than $25,000 (£15,500/€19,500) each in compensatory and punitive damages.
The runner's parents attended a send-off event in her honour before the Olympics, where they spoke with pride about their daughter, although she did not attend the event.
At the event Jo Ann Madison said: "We've been extremely busy for this and in our personal lives as well.
"I'm really on an emotional rollercoaster myself."
Robert Madison said his daughter had "been working on this for 12 years, and it's here".
They also travelled to London to see their daughter win gold.
Tianna Madison, who won the world long jump title at Helsinki in 2005, has spoken about overcoming adversity on the way to reaching the pinnacle of her sport.
In an interview with CNN since her gold medal win, she did not speak about her parents, but claimed she had been molested in high school.
"I went from being world champion long jumper in 2005, to nothing in the last seven years, to now being an Olympian," she said.
"I dealt with a bankruptcy, I had my home foreclosed, and these were things that happened and I was not honest with myself about why I was in that situation."