Olympic Icon Nastia Liukin Applauds LSU Gymnast Olivia Dunne's Rise to Fame

The Olympian and LSU gymnast have been friends for more than a decade.
Nastia Liukin and Olivia Dunne.

Nastia Liukin and Olivia Dunne.

Five-time Olympic medalist Nastia Liukin can’t stop gushing about how proud she is of LSU gymnast Olivia Dunne.

The NCAA athlete made her debut with SI Swimsuit this year after being photographed by Ben Watts in Puerto Rico. Liukin attended the SI Swimsuit launch week events in Florida alongside the model.

“PROUD older sister feels all weekend,” the 33-year-old wrote on her Instagram story over a photo with Dunne.

Liukin penned an essay for this year’s print magazine about the 20-year-old’s rise to fame, how she deals with it and how Dunne is forging her own path. The two met through the gymnastics community more than a decade ago and have formed a strong friendship as well as a mentor-mentee relationship.

“Knowing her since she was a child and seeing her grow into the role that she has today... she’s paving the way and writing a playbook. That gives me chills,” Liukin tells SI Swimsuit during an interview at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino- Hollywood, Fla. “The Olympic route is one thing—it’s been done before. But for [Dunne] there is nobody to follow or look up to. I’m learning from her too and that is super admirable. Not only is she doing that, but she’s also an athlete, a student, a sister, a daughter, a friend, a model. It’s truly the definition of leading by example and being an inspiration for generations to come.”

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Ananya Panchal


Ananya Panchal is a NYC-based Lifestyle & Trending News writer at SI Swimsuit. Before joining the Swim team, the Boston University Alum worked for culture & entertainment beats at Bustle, The San Francisco Chronicle and the TODAY Show. When Ananya is not writing or doom-scrolling on social media, she can be found playing sudoku, rewatching One Tree Hill or trying new restaurants. She's also a coffee and chocolate (separately) enthusiast.