Tragic Details About Gymnast Olivia Dunne

The following article includes allegations of domestic abuse and sexual assault.

Olivia Dunne's destiny as a gymnast was seemingly written in the stars. As a 3-year-old girl, Dunne became interested in gymnastics, soon proving too skilled for her age. "I remember being quite strong for a three-year-old. I can barely even think about doing right now at 20 years old," she recounted in a 2023 interview with Elle. Gymnastics was, however, not the only thing Dunne fell in love with at an early age.

Barely two years after Instagram launched, Dunne joined the social media platform. "I was 10 or 11, and there were younger girls looking up to me, and people starting to recognize me. To be someone else's role model meant the world to me," she explained to the publication.

As she grew as a gymnast, Dunne also built an online community. At the time of writing, Dunne, who joined the LSU Tigers in 2020, is the most-followed college athlete on social media, with over 13 million followers across all platforms. While she spent several years building her brand, it wasn't until 2021, when the NCAA announced the NIL deal, that Dunne's efforts seemingly started to pay off. "That's the moment my life changed," the LSU star admitted in an interview with People. With a whopping net worth of $3.5 million, Dunne was named the highest-paid female athlete in the NCAA in 2023. But while Dunne has enjoyed great success in her career, like many others, the star athlete has had her fair share of troubles.

Olivia Dunne suffered an injury in December 2022

In the first week of December 2022, Olivia Dunne suffered a leg injury, resulting in a weeks-long absence from competing. A few weeks later, Dunne gave fans an update on the injury after sharing an Instagram photo of herself sporting a protective brace on her left foot. "Wonder Woman vibes," she captioned (via The Sun).

With Dunne unable to compete, the LSU Tigers struggled, and coach Jay Clark advocated for Dunne's quick recovery. In a January 2023 interview with, Clark confirmed that the star gymnast suffered another flare-up earlier that month but was expected to return to the game in two weeks. Clark also shared his plans to ease Dunne back into the game, explaining she would start with uneven bars before getting back on floors. "It's a little frustrating," he admitted of the situation.

True to his words, Clark soon got Dunne back on bars, with the gymnast showing behind-the-scenes details of her comeback. In February 2023, the New Jersey native took to Tiktok, sharing a video of herself on the uneven bars, albeit with a bandage wrapped around her foot and ankle. "Getting back into the swing of things," she wrote in the caption.

Her Olympic dreams were crushed at 15

Like every young gymnast, Olivia Dunne had one dream—to compete in the Olympics. By the time she was 10, Dunne had become an elite gymnast, training to someday compete on the world stage. Unfortunately, an injury forced her to give up her lifelong ambition.

During an August 2021 appearance on the "BFFs" show with Dave Portnoy, Josh Richards, and Bri Chickenfry, Dunne revealed she let go of her Olympics dreams after suffering an injury in junior year. "I got hurt when I was about 15 or 16 years old. My bone had died in my ankle and it fractured, so I kind of realized, maybe this is not for me anymore and maybe I should just go to college," she shared on the podcast.

In addition to the injury, Dunne's Olympics dreams were also frustrated by Karolyi Ranch, the toxic training camp in Texas, where disgraced physical Larry Nassar sexually abused several of the United States' top gymnasts, including Olympic gold medalists Simone Biles and Aly Raisman. "I remember the first time I went, I thought it was going to be a fun summer camp with gymnastics. No. I was completely wrong. It shut down, obviously, because it was not a good place," Dunne recounted in an interview with Elle.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

Olivia Dunne's popularity forced her to stop taking physical classes

In 2017, Olivia Dunne accepted a full athletic scholarship from Louisiana State University (LSU). "I am very excited to announce I have verbally committed to LSU on a full athletic scholarship! I can't wait to join such an amazing team," she announced on Instagram. Upon joining LSU in 2020, Dunne's fame skyrocketed, thanks to her large social media following and, of course, her athletic skills.

While she might have wished to be a regular college student, Dunne's life at LSU was far from normal, given her popularity. Soon enough, keeping Dunne safe became a top priority. After some deliberation, the star athlete decided to stop attending physical classes. "There were some scares in the past, and I just want to be as careful as possible. I don't want people to know my daily schedule and where I am," she explained in a July 2023 interview with Elle.

In 2021, the star gymnast opened up about life as an LSU student, noting that she was learning to balance school and gymnastics. "First, I wake up and go to class, where I'm usually with my teammates. I study [at the communications center] and get schoolwork done," she shared with The New York Post.

She was mobbed by a group of men

Some days, fame comes at a cost. Olivia Dunne found that out in 2023. In January of that year, she made headlines after a group of fans showed up to LSU's first game of the season, asking to see the star gymnast. "We want Livvy! Give us Livvy!" they chanted as other gymnasts' performed their routine. Outside the auditorium, a few other fans aggressively asked to see Dunne, chanting, "Where is Livvy?" "Give us Livvy" at spectators as they walked past. Notably, Dunne, who had suffered an injury weeks before, was not competing at the time, making the situation even more problematic.

Consequently, the university thought it best to tighten security for the gymnasts, with coach Jay Clark declaring his commitment to keeping the team safe. "We will have security detail with us now when we go on the road, and we will be working to create a perimeter around where we get on the bus where we load," LSU gymnastics coach Jay Clark shared with ESPN.

Responding to the scary incident, Dunne leveraged her popularity, asking fans on social media to remain respectful to other gymnasts on her team. "I will always appreciate and love the support from you guys, but if you come to a meet, I want to ask you to please be respectful of the other gymnasts and the gymnastics community as we are just doing our job," she wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Olivia Dunne was a victim of pick-pocketing

After attending the Fyre Festival-like Revolve event at Coachella in 2022, Olivia Dunne revealed she fell victim to a thief. "To the person who pickpocketed my phone, thanks I needed an upgrade anyways:) #revolvefestival," she captioned a post shared to her Instagram.

Speaking to OutKick, Olivia's mom, Katherine, detailed the traumatic experience, noting that the star gymnast did not realize she had been pickpocketed until much later. "She was not carrying a lot of cash. But she lost her credit cards, and she had to be faxed a copy of her passport so she could get on the plane to go back to LSU. The worst thing was losing all her identification," Katherine added.

In an April 2024 TikTok video, Olivia recounted her experience, revealing that the stolen phone interfered with her influencing work. "I was there with a brand and did all my deliverables the first day I got to Coachella and I had to redo everything because my phone got stolen," the LSU athlete explained. Despite the terrible circumstances, however, Olivia seemingly made the most of her time at the event.