LSU gymnast Olivia Dunne proved just how flexible she is in a recent TikTok by getting into a backbend position, then threading her right arm behind her left to touch the ground and lying on her side with her left arm supporting her head.
The 20-year-old wore a brown long-sleeve crop top and black flared leggings as she moved to Dom’s “Conceited.”
A handful of Dunne’s content is gymnastics related—from team photo shoots to balance beam tricks—but she also has created a brand for herself by dancing and lip syncing to popular sounds, amassing 6.4 million TikTok followers in the process . Dunne’s seven-figure salary also consists of money she makes from deals and sponsorships from major brands like American Eagle Outfitters and Vuori.
Thanks to the NCAA’s new rules, college athletes like Dunne are able to financially support themselves through posting on social media and signing NIL deals.
In a recent New York Times article, titled "New Endorsements for College Athletes Resurface an Old Concern: Sex Sells," writer Kurt Streeter was criticized by some for taking a seemingly sexist angle in the way he wrote about Dunne.
“To Dunne, and many other athletes of her generation, being candid and flirty and showing off their bodies in ways that emphasize traditional notions of female beauty on social media are all empowering,” he wrote. “But the new flood of money—and the way many female athletes are attaining it—troubles some who have fought for equitable treatment in women’s sports and say that it rewards traditional feminine desirability over athletic excellence.”
People were quick to defend Dunne in the article’s comment section that has since been closed by the media giant.
“When I was a student athlete in a very liberal and ‘progressive’ setting, I felt like I wasn’t allowed to be overly feminine for fear of not seeming like a serious athlete,” someone wrote. “Good for these girls who embrace being stereotypically feminine and attractive and excel at their sport.”
“As long as female collegiate athletes are the ones posting pics of themselves, consent is implicit,” another agreed. “They are all adults. I say go for it and make the bucks while you can—there are too few post-collegiate opportunities for these athletes to cash in after their eligibility expires.”
“The NCAA rules allow college athletes to make money by using their name, image and likeness (NIL). Olivia is just doing that without violating the NCAA rules,” another supporter chimed in. “At the same time, she maintains her eligibility as a gymnast on Louisiana State women’s team. What is wrong with that? What is the fuss?”