Olivia Dunne Asks Fans to ‘Be Respectful’ Following Chaotic LSU Gymnastics Event

The college athlete called out her fans for their less than stellar behavior.
Olivia Dunne

Olivia Dunne.

LSU gymnast Olivia Dunne and her team kicked off the 2023 season against the No. 3-ranked Utah on Friday, Jan. 6 to quite a fan frenzy. 

Tons of the social media star’s male followers packed the Jon M. Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City to cheer on the 20-year-old athlete, while scores of them waited outside the arena for Dunne to exit afterward.

“There’s literally a line outside of the Huntsman Center of teenage boys that keep asking if Livvy is coming out. I’ve never seen anything like this,” tweeted University of Utah athletics beat writer Josh Furlong.

“LSU had to move its team bus so they didn’t have to run into the group of boys. There were cops stationed in front to avoid them getting in,” he followed up in a separate tweet.

The spectacle caused Dunne to issue a Twitter statement on Jan. 8, urging her fans and followers to be respectful when they attend a meet.

“I will always appreciate and love the support from you guys... please be respectful of the other gymnasts and the gymnastics community as we are just doing our job,” she wrote.

One fan brought a cardboard cut-out of the college junior to the event, while others held up signs and some sported custom T-shirts in the stands.

Former gymnast turned broadcaster Samantha Peszek shared a video of the rowdy outdoor crowd on Twitter, writing, “This is actually so scary and disturbing and cringey. I’m embarrassed for them…”

Dunne’s mother, Katherine, came to her daughter’s defense when some Twitter users blasted the gymnast for the behavior of her overzealous fans.

“It is not ok to blame any athlete/celebrity when fan behavior crosses the line,” she wrote in part of her message.

Ironically, Dunne did not compete in the Jan. 6 meet due to a reported injury. The evening’s roster included three freshman, four sophomores, five juniors, six seniors and one graduate student.

The Tigers earned their highest score in a road season opener in program history on Friday night, but were narrowly defeated, 197.275 to 196.775. Heading into the season, LSU was ranked No. 6 in preseason polls.

Dunne’s fans will have a chance to redeem themselves with more respectful behavior later this week when the LSU Tigers take on the Kentucky Wildcats on Friday, Jan. 13, at 5 p.m. CT.

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Cara O’Bleness


Cara is a trending news writer/editor for Sports Illustrated Swimsuit. A passionate writer and editor with more than 10 years of experience in print and online media, she loves storytelling and believes that words have the power to change the world. Prior to joining the team, Cara worked as a writer and editor across a number of content verticals, including food, lifestyle, health and wellness, and small business and entrepreneurship. In her free time, Cara loves reading, spending time with her family and making her way through Michigan’s many microbreweries. She is a graduate of Michigan State University's School of Journalism.