The Scary Incident That Led Olivia Dunne To Have Security At LSU

Gymnast-slash-social media sensation Olivia Dunne has a massive following, and as such, it's not exactly surprising that fans of hers would show up to support her at meets. However, things took a scary turn in January 2023 — and her university was forced to hire security for future events. 

Early January 2023 saw Dunne and her Louisiana State University gymnastics teammates compete at the University of Utah. Knowing Dunne would be there, hordes of teenage boys from her fanbase showed up. However, that turned into a very frustrating situation for her and her opponents alike. For starters, Dunne's fans began yelling boisterously for her during the competition. Speaking to Fox 13, University of Utah gymnast Jaylene Gilstrap shared that Dunne seemed disconcerted by it. "They were out there just yelling, 'We want Livvy,' which I could tell she was also upset about, and keeping her head down," she told the outlet. That was just the beginning, though — as documented in a post to X, formerly Twitter, by Olympian Samantha Peszek, things escalated after the event had wrapped up, with the same boys lining up outside the arena and yelling that they wanted to see Dunne. 

Making matters even scarier, Utah Athletics reporter Josh Furlong also revealed on X that when Dunne and her teammates eventually did come out, police had needed to guard the door to stop any of the boys from trying to get in. Understandably, LSU recognized that there was a serious risk, and they took action right away. 

LSU hired security immediately after the incident

Within days of the scary incident at the University of Utah, Olivia Dunne and her Louisiana State University gymnastics coach Jay Clark told "Today" that new security measures had been put in place as a result. "We have a new security person that travels with us," said Dunne. On top of that, she explained that there were new rules for gymnasts competing, too. That, she told "Today," included not spending any time in the stands during or after competitions. As for Clark, he explained that they had actually been considering implementing more secure settings for a while (more on that in a sec). 

Evidently, the security was for the best, as in an interview with People towards the end of 2023, Dunne shared that there hadn't been many more issues. Granted, she also acknowledged that there hadn't been many opportunities for anything to happen, as the University of Utah meet had been their final one for the season. 

As for the 2024 season, LSU's Reveille has pointed out that Dunne hasn't competed nearly as much. That was credited to her busy schedule as an influencer rather than as a result of any safety and security concerns. 

Olivia's coach believed social media put the team at risk

Speaking to "Today," Jay Clark explained that even before the situation at the University of Utah, he'd been concerned about the safety of his team. That, he explained, was because of social media. "I think it creates, kind of, a false sense of accessibility and familiarity," he mused. Sure enough, Olivia Dunne also told "Today" that there had been one incident where the university called the cops over a specific threat she'd received online. 

That's not to say Clark has any issues with his team having followings, though. Quite the contrary. In the same interview, he clapped back at The New York Times drama, which had seen Dunne accused of taking women's sports back in time. "If expression, and self-expression, is something that we value, as a right in this country, then we have to be consistent when it doesn't necessarily fit what our own agenda might be," he said. Clark has also joked about how rich Dunne has become precisely because of social media. As Washington Post reporter Emily Giambalvo shared in a post to X, he'd told her, "I did joke with Liv one time when she wasn't doing well ... I said, 'How do you want me to handle this? Since you make 10 times what I make?'"

It's incredible that Dunne has been able to build such an impressive career for herself. Here's hoping her social media fans learn how to behave going forward.