Ohio Olympic Gold Medalist Sued by Parents Over Claims She Lied About Them in the Media

The Elyria, Ohio, parents of Olympic gold medalist Tianna Madison have filed a $50,000 lawsuit against her, claiming that she falsely spread stories that they acted selfishly, bullied her, and cheated her financially causing her bankruptcy.

Robert and Jo Ann Madison filed the libel, slander, and defamation lawsuit, which also names her husband John Bartoletta, on Thursday in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court in Cleveland. The Madisons say that they've been loving, supportive and generous parents.

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. The parents are each seeking $25,000 in compensation and punitive damages.

The Madisons held a rally for their daughter in Elyria in July prior to the start of the London Olympics, but she did not attend. Her parents travelled to London to watch her win the gold. Madison also did not return to her hometown of Elyria following her performance at the Olympics.

Tianna Madison was a part of the winning 4x100-meter relay track team at the Summer Olympics. Her other teammates included Allyson Felix, Bianca Knight, and Carmelita Jeter. They won the gold in world record time.

Jo Ann Madison states in the filing that she and her husband have spent around $100,000 supporting Tianna, and do not recognize the claims that she is making against them in the media.

The Madison's attorney, Scott Schooler, says that despite the lawsuit, Jo Ann and Robert only want to reunite with their daughter. He said:

"They are not seeking any financial gain. At the end of the day, they would like to restore their relationship with their daughter. Beyond that, I am not going to comment on the parameters of any possible resolution."

Schooler says that his clients wanted to use the lawsuit as a way of getting their daughter's attention:

"It was a wake-up call for Tianna to really look at the entire situation and look at what exactly is going on. Hopefully, she will realize there is some importance in having a relationship with her parents."