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Olivia Dunne's back for a fifth year at LSU—who else should join her for another epic season?

In recent times, Olivia Dunne has been repeatedly questioned about her return to gymnastics in Baton Rouge. Each time her name or face appeared in the news feed, her fans patiently awaited an update. Since April, this anticipation has been especially intense following the LSU Tigers’ victory in the National Gymnastics Championships. Finally, fans can now breathe a sigh of relief as Olivia Dunne has decided to stay in the Tigers’ camp for another year.

Eventually, it will be her fifth year after receiving a grace of one year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, she wasn’t the only one given this option. In fact, several of her teammates faced the same decision. Now, let’s see who else has chosen to take advantage of this opportunity.

Olivia Dunne will join her close mate in her one last dance 

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While cherishing her decision to make the comeback in the fifth year, Olivia Dunne reminisced about the supporters she had seen in the boxes.“There’s something about competing in front of 13,000 screaming Tiger fans,” she said. The same reason echoed in Haleigh Bryant’s statement when she announced her return to the Tigers’ camp for the fifth year. In her return note to her camp, Bryant jotted down, “Competing in the PMAC every Friday night has been a dream come true.” She announced her return a lot ago, though, just after the national championship victory in April. However, these two names will join Sierra Ballard, Chase Brock, and Alyona Shchennikova in the final fifth year. Among them, Alyona Shchennikova might find an extra push to take the mat next season. 

The reason is her absence last season due to an ACL injury. As a result, the gymnast missed the entire season when the LSU Tigers claimed the crown as the nation’s best for the first time. Now, there will also be a focus on Haleigh Bryant and Olivia Dunne.

Last season, Haleigh Bryant proved to be the standout performer for the Baton Rouge team, consistently delivering stellar performances in every competition. Her exceptional contributions played a crucial role in securing the LSU Tigers’ championship victory, where she also claimed the all-around title. For Olivia Dunne, this upcoming season promises to be a perfect comeback opportunity, as her injury prevented her from competing in every match last season.

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Yet, she had limited chances in nine matches where her top scores remained at 9.875 on bars and 9.900 on the floor exercise. Now, Livvy’s target will be to make her last dance in the purple leotard memorable. On this route, the 21-year-old gymnast took her last season’s experience as the motivation. 

An extra push extends the limit to march forward 

In her fifth year, Olivia Dunne wants to contribute to expanding the sport, both on-court and off-court. Finding her mojo from the last season, she wants to try her limit now. In her note of making a comeback, the New Jersey native has pointed out these factors. “This past year I found a renewed love of the sport. I had trained a lot in the off-season, so I felt really strong and healthy from the start and ready to contribute,” she narrated. With that, she also mentioned the bonds she enjoyed in her time in the Dickies Arena. 

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Those memorable bonds made her say, “I really enjoyed the dynamic of the team this year and it all came together well. Winning the national championships was a great team accomplishment, but I feel like I have more to give as an individual competitor.” But in this moment of confluence as well, a sad tone remains mixed. 

Olivia Dunne’s best pal Savannah Schoenherr has left the LSU Tigers camp. So do Elena Arenas and Kiya Johnson. Livvy is surely going to miss them in the camp. That’s how it is, mixed with remnants of different emotions.