Gold Medal Sprinter Tianna Madison Sued by Parents

PHOTO: Gold medalist Tianna Madison of the United States poses on the podium during the medal ceremony for the Womens 4 x 100m Relay on Day 14 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium, Aug. 10, 2012 in London, England.
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United States gold medalist Tianna Madison and her husband are being sued by Madison's parents for libel, slander and defamation.

The Olympic sprinter won gold in London as part of the 4x100 meter relay team that set a new world record.

Madison's parents Robert and Jo Ann Madison are claiming that she has repeatedly made and published false and defamatory statements about them. Tianna Madison has told news outlets that her parents mismanaged her finances and knowingly allowed a boy who had molested her previously to be in her presence at their home.

The lawsuit was filed at a Cuyahoga County's Court of Common Pleas in Ohio on Sept. 6. The Madisons live in Elyria, Ohio, and Tianna Madison lives in Tampa, Fla.

In the lawsuit, Robert and Jo Ann Madison say that their daughter's husband John Bartoletta told them on March 17, 2012 that she would be filing a lawsuit against them for "misappropriation of funds and fraud based on her power of attorney" and that he had hired a bodyguard to protect her.

The lawsuit was never filed, but the parents said they were "shocked by these unfounded and untrue allegations."

"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 endeavors," the lawsuit said.

Tianna Madison, 27, has also publicly accused her parents of inviting a boy into their home who she said had previously molested her. Her parents deny the claim.

"Robert Madison and Jo Ann Madison were not aware of any molestation of Defendant Tianna Madison, and at present, they remain unaware of whether Defendant Tianna Madison was ever molested or not," the lawsuit said.

In the days prior to the Olympics, the parents claim that they received a text message from their daughter in which she said that "after the Olympic Games, she would 'break the story' of the Madisons 'selfish, controlling, and utterly abusive ways and treatment' of her, and that 'it is going to be brutal.'"

Tianna Madison's representative, Brian Butler, did not respond to request for comment today, but told Ohio's Chronicle-Telegram that Madison and her husband would not be commenting publicly on the lawsuit.

"This should be a time for not just Tianna, but her family to celebrate all she has gone through and her winning a gold medal," Butler told the paper. "That is what she is going to focus on at this time."

Robert and Jo Ann Madison claim that their daughter's defamatory comments have caused them "humiliation, public ridicule, mental pain and anguish," according to the lawsuit. They are seeking damages in excess of $25,000.

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