Louisiana State University's (LSU) standout gymnast and social media sensation, Olivia Dunne, has been at the forefront of redefining the narrative around women in sports. Dunne, a vocal advocate against the disparaging comments often directed at female athletes, recently took a firm stand against trolls undermining their accomplishments.
Addressing the frequent criticism she and other women athletes face, Dunne, as reported by Elle, insightfully noted, "To see a woman winning? People sometimes have a lot to say”. She speculated that being a trailblazer in her field might be a magnet for such scrutiny.
“If you’re a woman at the forefront of something when you’ve got eyes on you, people are going to downplay your success," she remarked. Despite these challenges, Dunne's approach is not of confrontation but perseverance, stating, “The best way to get that to stop is to keep being successful at what you’re doing, because your success, and love for what you do, will outshine any of that”.
Dunne's prominence extends beyond the gymnasium, thanks to the NCAA's new NIL ("name, image, and likeness") rules. These regulations allow players to profit from endorsement deals, catapulting her to one of the highest-paid collegiate athletes.
As she embarks on her final year at LSU, Dunne, with an impressive 7.6 million followers on TikTok, is estimated to rake in a staggering $3.3 million annually in endorsements, according to On3, a platform tracking college athletes' endorsement income.
Facing Online Challenges
However, her journey hasn't been without its challenges. Dunne has been a target of internet trolling, particularly for her wardrobe choices, an aspect of her social media presence. Despite this, she remains focused on her craft, undeterred by external negativity.
Reflecting on this aspect of her life, Dunne reiterates her earlier sentiment, “To see a woman winning? People sometimes have a lot to say”. This statement encapsulates her determination and resilience in the face of adversity.
Adding a personal touch to her public persona, Dunne is currently in a relationship with MLB player Paul Skenes. The couple recently confirmed their relationship, adding a new chapter to Dunne's multifaceted life as an athlete, influencer, and role model.
Her story continues to inspire many, demonstrating the power of perseverance and positivity in overcoming criticism in the world of sports.