Olivia Dunne, Louisiana State University gymnast and social media sensation, has become a notable figure in the sports and entertainment world, surpassing the fame of many celebrities. Her journey to stardom began on TikTok during the 2020 lockdown, where she showcased her gymnastic skills.
However, Dunne's content evolved to include fashion and social events, attracting over 10 million followers. Recently, the 21-year-old New Jersey native updated her 4.5 million Instagram followers with a photo of herself and boyfriend Paul Skenes, the former LSU pitcher and 2023 second overall pick of the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The caption, "with my fav d8," confirmed their relationship to her fans. Skenes, a 6-foot-6 pitching prodigy, had an impressive record at LSU with a 1.69 ERA over 19 starts in the 2022-2023 season. His performance played a pivotal role in LSU winning their first College World Series title since 2009, a momentous event Dunne witnessed firsthand.
NIL Rule Boosts Dunne
Dunne's rise in the digital world coincides with the NCAA's 2021 ruling allowing athletes to monetize their Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL). This change enabled Dunne to capitalize on her popularity, exemplified by a reported $500,000 for a single social media post.
As MLB's next potential power couple, Dunne and Skenes are poised to challenge the longstanding reign of Justin Verlander and Kate Upton. With her impending graduation and Skenes' MLB debut, their influence in the sports world is set to expand.
Away from the gymnastics mat, Olivia Dunne's passion for baseball shines through. Her social media accounts are a testament to this, filled with moments from New York Yankees games and her 2023 Halloween celebration, where she donned a baseball-inspired outfit.
Dunne's blend of sports enthusiasm and digital acumen has carved a unique niche for her in the sports world, elevating her to a prominent influencer status. However, with growing fame comes the challenge of staying authentic.
Dunne and her partner, Paul Skenes, navigate the spotlight while exemplifying a new breed of athlete-influencers. They are at the forefront of a shift in sports culture, where athletic prowess and social media clout intertwine, transforming the traditional image of sports celebrities. Their story isn't just about sports or social media; it's about the evolving dynamics of celebrity in the digital age.