LSU Gymnast Olivia Dunne Asks Fans for Respect After Disruptive Group at Utah Meet

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 9, 2023

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH - JANUARY 06: Olivia Dunne of LSU looks on after a PAC-12 meet against Utah at Jon M. Huntsman Center on January 06, 2023 in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)
Alex Goodlett/Getty Images

LSU gymnast Olivia Dunne has become one of the NCAA's most popular athletes, but she was forced to speak out after seeing rowdy fans at a meet against Utah on Friday in Salt Lake City.

Olivia Dunne @livvydunne

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❤️

The comment comes after fans chanted wildly at Dunne during the meet, holding signs and yelling while other athletes were competing. The scene got particularly scary after a large group of boys and young men waited outside the Jon M. Huntsman Center for a chance to see the junior.

Olympic silver medalist and color commentator Samantha Peszek provided a view of the fans outside the arena:

Samantha Peszek @samanthapeszek

This is actually so scary and disturbing and cringey. I'm embarrassed for them… <a href="https://t.co/h23bBdBQ9B">pic.twitter.com/h23bBdBQ9B</a>

According to Josh Furlong of KSL, LSU had to move its team bus to avoid the crowd.

Dunne has exploded in popularity thanks to her social media presence, tallying more than 2.7 million followers on Instagram and 6.7 million followers on TikTok. She is one of the biggest beneficiaries of the NCAA's new rules on name, image and likeness rights, with an On3 valuation of $2.7 million.

Heisman Trophy winners Bryce Young and Caleb Williams are the only NCAA athletes with a higher valuation, per On3.

The junior signed her first exclusive brand partnership with activewear brand Vuori in 2021 worth a reported mid six-figures payday, per Kristi Dosh of Forbes.

The attention has helped bring extra fans to a high-profile gymnastics meet, although Dunne didn't even compete as No. 3 Utah earned a 197.275-196.725 win over sixth-ranked LSU.

The Tigers continue their season on the road against Kentucky on Friday before a home-opener against Oklahoma on Jan. 16, hoping for more well-behaved fans.