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“Doesn’t Count as an Athlete”: Olivia Dunne After Admitting to Being ‘Discredited’ Becomes Victim of Online Trolling

Published 09/23/2023, 2:21 PM EDT

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Olivia Dunne and Angel Reese, two student-athletes, proudly represent their alma mater Louisiana State University (LSU). Livvy who needs no introduction is a gymnastics star boasting an impressive 4.4 million followers on Instagram. Reese is a formidable basketball player commanding a substantial following of 2.5 million. Recently, these collegiate mega-stars graced the coveted cover of Sports Illustrated for October’s “The Money Issue”. In an exclusive interview with the magazine, Dunne touched upon a myriad of issues, shedding light on her remarkable journey. However, one statement resonated deeply among fans when she said, “People definitely discredit what I do”.

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She continued stating that people needed to understand that she has worked for everything she has earned and that she has spent years building the audience she has garnered. Livvy also said, “Brands pay me for what they believe is worth the reach of the demographic that I offer.” In a recent update from Sports Illustrated, the very point Livvy was trying to reiterate became painfully evident as she became the victim of online trolling and fans weren’t shying away from their thoughts.

Olivia Dunne and Angel Reese in the spotlight


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The official Sports Illustrated Instagram account posted a picture recently of Angel Reese and Olivia Dunne as cover athletes.  The image portrayed Reese and Dunne standing shoulder to shoulder, representing LSU. Reese wore a purple outfit and carried a basketball, while Dunne stunned too in a blue leotard with white sleeves. The caption accompanying the image read, “Led by Olivia Dunne and Angel Reese, LSU is setting the standard for athletes in women’s sports capitalizing on NIL deals.”

Dunne ranks third on the NIL rankings of all college athletes. She falls behind Bronny James and Shedeur Sanders – with a valuation of $3.1m, while Reese is at number 8 with a $1.7m valuation. Livve has always advocated for women’s sports and has said “There’s definitely an underlying problem, which is that the money needs to go to support women’s sports, because there’s not many [lucrative] professional leagues for women’s sports after college.” 


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Following in Dunne’s footsteps, Reese shared the same sentiments and rose to prominence and her postgame comments during the Lady Tigers’ national championship win vs. Iowa. Olivie Dunne has clearly set an example for her fellow college athletes and it has proved to be on the right path, however, her recent post with SI Magazine did not sit well with her fans.

While many expressed heartfelt congratulations and admiration for these LSU standouts, others raised concerns and criticisms.

Watch this story: Inching Closer to Simone Biles and Shilese Jones, Gymnastics’ Rising Star Unveils Her Next Steps

How Livvy became a victim of online trolling


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As thousands of likes and comments flooded in some congratulated Livvy, recognizing her as a trailblazer in the world of college athletics. However, a contingent of trolls and critics emerged, intent on discrediting her achievements.  One person commented referring to Dunne, “The blonde girl brings nothing to the table besides being super pretty, and I mean that with all due respect”.  Another person said, “Livvy Dunne doesn’t count as an athlete”. One more person said, “Is Liv even an elite gymnast?”

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“SMH, we want change and equality across sports, yet the highest NIL earner for men is a top NFL draft pick, for women one is an unknown gymnast who gained popularity by posting thirst traps for teenage boys,” said another commenter.  One even wrote, “This NIL for women is infuriating. Men get paid based on athletic abilities, and women based on looks. No offense to Livy, as she’s gorgeous, but how about featuring a female athlete who is relevant for their athletic abilities?”


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Dunne and Reese have gone from LSU standouts to Sports Illustrated cover athletes showing the transformative power of NIL agreements. While online trolling may cast shadows, their accomplishments shine brightly, proving that they are not just athletes but also role models for a new generation of sports stars. And the two athletes are here to make a change in the world of sports.

“Beyond Hurtful”: Heartbroken Over Unfair Snubbing, Simone Biles and Jordan Chiles Take Firm Stand for Little Gymnast

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Written by:

Christaline Meyers


One take at a time

Christaline Meyers is a pro-writer for Essentially Sports. Having contributed to movies and web series, Christaline delved into sports journalism and like the puck on the ice, has been a force to be reckoned with in the US sports arena. Her experience in writing about the latest WSL event, the recent track and field record, and creative gymnastics routines, found her digging deeper into the minds of legends like Kelly Slater, Usain Bolt, and Simone Biles.
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Edited by:

Brandon Gabriel