TikTok has fast become the platform that home’s the most influential people on the planet. In fact, as of January 2023, the popular social media giant has over 1 billion users from 150 countries worldwide.
One of the TikTok influencers you’ve probably stumbled across is Olivia Dunne, an LSU gymnast. Dunne’s influence shouldn’t be underestimated, with data from ON3 showing that she’s at the top of her social media game when it comes to female college athletes.
Recently, Olivia has made headlines due to her posts on Instagram and TikTok. So, if you’re curious about Olivia Dunne and how an LSU gymnast became a social media sensation, then keep reading.
Who is Olivia Dunne?
Sometimes fame can catch people off-guard and it’s never as easy as it seems, but for Livvy Dunne, the fine balancing act of social media star and her athletic career is all part of the job. The twenty-year-old Louisiana State Division One college athlete has fast become a social media household name, especially loved by Gen-Z.
Olivia was born and raised in New Jersey, where her gymnastics training would begin in the year 2005 at ENA Gymnastics. By the mere age of fourteen Dunne was being homeschooled by her mother so that during the day she could focus on her gymnastics training with coach Craig Zappa. And even though she wasn’t enrolled in high school, somehow Olivia managed the high school team at Pascack Valley High School.
Having started her career in local hometown gyms to being recognized nationally and internationally for her talent, Olivia has fast become a successful gymnast. She competed in the 2007 Jesolo Trophy in Italy as part of the U.S. junior team, where the team went on to win gold.
For the past two years while being an LSU Tiger, Dunne was awarded the Women’s Collegiate Gymnastics Association (WCGA) Scholastic All-American.
Nevertheless, Olivia’s success goes far beyond gymnastics. The social media star has over 3 million followers on Instagram and a whopping 7 million on TikTok. She uses her platforms to share lifestyle content and behind-the-scenes from competitive tournaments.
Olivia’s Gymnastic Career
Let’s take a quick look at Olivia’s gymnastics career before we take a deeper dive into her social media.
Olivia first made an appearance in the sport scene in 2014 during the American Classic where she went on to finish in 28th position. Later in 2015, she would go on to win 5th place in the WOGA Classic, while also competing in the American Classic again and placing 8th, which awarded her a spot in the National Championships.
In 2016 she would continue to compete in the American Classic and National Championships, where she finished in 12th place. But, in March 2017 Olivia was selected as part of the team competing at the 2017 Jesolo Trophy. Because of this she was awarded a spot on the National Team and went on to make her first international appearance as a professional gymnast.
Later that year Olivia would place 5th in the U.S. Classic and 9th in the National Championships.
Olivia’s senior years were from 2018 to 2020. She would go on to represent her team at the Jesolo Trophy in 2018, landing 15th place. She further qualified for the National Championships again and ended up winning 18th place.
During 2019, Olivia didn’t compete due to previously suffered injuries. But, she did officially apply to Louisiana State University during this period.
It was 2020 when Olivia joined the Louisiana State University Tigers team. From her acceptance until now she has secured second place in the SEC Championships and matched or beat her overall best scores countless times.
During the 2021 to 2022 season, Olivia would miss out on a lot of competitions and events due to injuries. Some of which included two torn labruns, and a torn bicep. This was the first season since the beginning of her career that she did not qualify for the national championship.
After missing out on so much of the previous season due to injuries Olivia made her first appearance on the 24th of February competing against Alabama.
Dunne’s Rise To Social Media Fame
Olivia first joined TikTok in 2020, where she would post short-form videos of her gymnastics. It’s only later that she began sharing about other aspects of her life on the platform as well.
As of May 2023, Olivia is the most followed female NCAA athlete boasting over 7.4 million followers on TikTok alone.
In July 2021, the NCAA changed its rules allowing athletes to finally be able to receive financial compensation for their name, image, and likeness. At the time of the rule change, Olivia was projected to earn more than any other college athlete thanks to her large following of five million at the time.
In August of that year, Olivia signed a contract with WME Sports and would go on to be their first NIL athlete. She later signed a collaboration deal with Vuori an activewear brand.
Olivia is the highest-paid female college athlete with estimated earnings of 3.3 million per year. The star confirmed the estimate in an interview with Today where she stated her brand partnerships and endorsements bring in seven figures.
In addition to the above contracts, Olivia has gone on to sign collaborations with Forever 21, ESPN, American Eagle, Grubhub, and Body Armor.
Top 3 Most Viral Moments
Here are some of Olivia’s most viral moments – on and off of social media.
Olivia’s Valentine’s Post
Olivia’s social media went completely viral in February after she posted a Valentine’s Day video to TikTok where she can be seen wearing a black dress while showing off a bundle of red roses. The short-form video went crazy after fans spotted the caption which said “Be Mine” with the internet going into a frenzy wondering whether the social media star was secretly implying that she’s currently dating someone.
Fans Go Crazy
Olivia’s social media stardom has led to massive crowds showing up at Louisiana State University meets. This has forced the college to put increased safety measures in place.
At the 2023 season-opening against Utah in Salt Lake City, fans showed up holding signs which disrupted other participants during the competition. They also cheered for Olivia, who wasn’t even competing due to an injury.
After this incident, Jay Clark the head coach for the LSU team stated that they would increase security measures for all further out-of-state meets.
Olivia ft. Sports Illustrated
Olivia was featured in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, which she would go on to state was an honor. She posted behind-the-scenes footage to her social media platforms and her fans went absolutely crazy. Yet, this reaction wouldn’t even come close to the virality of the campaign when it finally launched.
What’s interesting, is that Olivia’s audience aren’t all interested in gymnastics. A lot of them follow her because she’s done a great job at marketing herself and other aspects of her life.
Who knows when the next time Olivia’s fans will react in a frenzy to one of her social media posts, creating yet another viral moment for the career athlete. One thing is absolutely crystal clear, and that is that Olivia’s social media and athletic career are only just beginning.
Her commitment to the gymnastics and her team paired with her behind-the-scenes social posts where she allows her audience to take a glimpse at a more personal side is a breath of fresh air and the reason why she’s hitting it off with Gen-Z audiences. There’s nothing that resonates more with Gen-Z than authenticity, and Livvy delivers just that.
So there you have it! From a successful gymnast to internet sensation, Olivia Dunne has got the world at her fingertips – with no plans of slowing down anytime soon.