Tuesday, October 3, 2023
HomeTottenham HotspurNCAA Gymnasts Are Their Personal Model – An Previous Faculty Gymnastics Weblog

NCAA Gymnasts Are Their Personal Model – An Previous Faculty Gymnastics Weblog

Within the gymnastics neighborhood Sunisa Lee is the athlete everybody thinks about when Auburn College is mentioned. However I wish to begin this text by speaking about probably the most well-known athlete Auburn has produced previously few many years, the soccer participant Cam Newton.

The primary time I ever heard of Cam Newton got here through the Summer time of 2010. On the time, Cam Newton was a former backup at Florida who had transferred out, and there actually wasn’t a lot motive to offer him severe consideration exterior of simply one other routine roster change. However on all the faculty soccer boards, Auburn followers had been adamant that this was a reputation everybody ought to keep in mind. And that in just a few months’ time, he can be one of the crucial well-known athletes in American sports activities.

In the long run that prophecy got here true.

Cam Newton would develop into Auburn’s first Heisman Trophy winner since 1985, and led Auburn to its first Nationwide Championship since 1957. His 2010 season would go down as one of the crucial memorable in faculty soccer historical past. However as a consequence of his unconventional profession trajectory the place Newton’s first three years had been spent in obscurity earlier than he arrived at Auburn, his status for being one of the crucial athletically gifted gamers the game had ever seen was primarily based completely on phrase of mouth and the faculty soccer insiders insisting his arrival at Auburn was something however routine.

Sunisa Lee

Cam Newton-2010 jogs my memory a lot of Nadia Comaneci in 1973 and 1974 when she herself was an obscure determine to the bigger sports activities neighborhood, however the superfans and gymnastics insiders appeared to have the within scoop of what was to return in later years. If Cam Newton has parallels to a younger Nadia Comaneci, he’s the polar reverse of Sunisa Lee.

Cam Newton got here to Auburn as an obscure sports activities determine with the expectation of future greatness, however when Sunisa Lee got here to Auburn she was already a family title. Sunisa Lee belongs to one of many only a few Olympic sports activities the place athletes get hold of widescale reputation of their highschool years. And amongst these sports activities, the one one which receives sturdy media protection at each the Olympic and NCAA degree.

For elite-level athletes of girls’s inventive gymnastics (WAG) seeking to transition to the NCAA ranks, they belong to a one-of-a-kind state of affairs the place they enter a well-liked NCAA league having already established their fame. When Cam Newton arrived at Auburn, he used the huge sources of Auburn’s fanbase and model to garner a big following for himself. That has not been Sunisa’s expertise at Auburn.

Sunisa Lee

Earlier than she competed in even a single NCAA competitors, Sunisa Lee had already received the title of Sports activities Illustrated Athlete of the Yr. Sunisa was additionally a competitor on Dancing With the Stars, probably the most prestigious tv present within the “superstar visitor competitors” style. Earlier than Sunisa Lee had saluted her first NCAA decide, she had already reached the top of gymnastics fame.

For Cam Newton, Auburn served because the launching level which propelled him to future greatness. If Auburn soccer made Cam Newton well-known, for Sunisa Lee the reverse is true. She is making Auburn gymnastics well-known.

The mix of NCAA Gymnastics and extremely acclaimed elite degree gymnasts who can now wield the complete energy of their manufacturers as a consequence of NIL has created a state of affairs that’s unprecedented elsewhere within the faculty sports activities world. In girls’s gymnastics, NCAA student-athletes are arguably extra high-profile, extra well-known, and have a bigger following than the very faculty packages they compete for.

Sunisa Lee (L) and Olivia Dunne (R)

Sunisa Lee not solely has a bigger social media following on Instagram than Auburn Gymnastics, however at 1.7 million followers, Sunisa Lee has extra Instagram followers than the following 20 largest girls’s gymnastics packages mixed (1.4 Million). To place that in perspective, the most important NCAA soccer packages, probably the most priceless sports activities groups in faculty sport sometimes obtain “solely” 500K followers, with the 2 largest being at 900K and 1.1 million respectively.

Sunisa Lee is on no account an outlier on this regard. LSU Gymnastics has achieved an identical profit because of Olivia Dunne, who leveraged her WAG profession to develop one of many largest social media followings of any athlete who’s at present energetic within the NCAA ranks. Dunne at present sits at 1.6 million followers on Instagram, which is kind of an afterthought in comparison with the 5.1 million followers she has on TikTok.

Even with out attaining Olympic success Olivia Dunne has confirmed greater than able to rising LSU’s base of help. LSU Gymnastics at present has the second largest social media following amongst all girls’s gymnastics packages with Olivia being a key motive for that development. And like Sunisa Lee, Olivia Dunne achieved the majority of her fame previous to getting into the NCAA ranks.

Olivia Dunne

Be aware: If it seems unimpressive that LSU has “solely” the 2nd largest social media following amongst NCAA packages, it’s as a result of UCLA occupies the #1 spot and has as many Instagram followers because the #2, #3, #4, and #5 largest NCAA gymnastics packages mixed because of the lasting success of Katelyn Ohashi. It’s a additional instance of how particular person superstars typically empower the packages they signify.

If it sounds audacious to match the celebrity of an NCAA gymnast to a Blue Blood soccer program with their huge fanbases, Olivia Dunne makes that comparability considerably justified. LSU has acknowledged the worth of Olivia Dunne and has emphasised her of their multi-sport model platforms, advertising and marketing, and recruiting pitches. As LSU sees it, to win over the following extremely acclaimed soccer or basketball recruit, they should reveal that LSU is a spot the place NCAA athletes can maximize their incomes potential within the type of NIL offers.

And what higher method to try this than pointing to the success of LSU’s very personal Olivia Dunne who has acquired huge consideration not only for having a big social media base, however being one of many main gymnasts within the wave of NIL offers overtaking NCAA sports activities. It will be correct to say the following nice LSU soccer group can be constructed with assist from Olivia Dunne.

Sunisa Lee (L) and Charles Barkley (R)

In a latest interview with Charles Barkley, one of the crucial well-known sports activities figures Auburn athletics has ever produced, he expressed shock and bewilderment over Sunisa’s fame. As Barkley appropriately identified, it wasn’t till he was previous the midway level in his faculty profession earlier than he achieved vital fame for himself. Sunisa Lee completed widespread fame at a far youthful age, in her freshman 12 months, and earlier than she had even produced a signature NCAA win.

Even the very existence of this interview is an instance of the bizarre pattern impacting NCAA girls’s gymnastics. The interview between Charles and Sunisa occurred on an NBA themed present, and printed to its YouTube channel with over a million subscribers. Via her look on Barkley’s present, Sunisa was selling NCAA gymnasts and Auburn College to a platform geared in the direction of sports activities followers of a unique gender (Male vs. Feminine), a unique degree of play (Skilled vs NCAA), and a unique household of sports activities (Olympic vs. 4 Main Leagues).

Within the course of, Sunisa Lee was not solely socializing with a fellow Auburn legend and rising her platform, she was serving to to develop Auburn gymnastics as properly.

It’s a state of affairs that’s merely unparalleled elsewhere within the faculty ranks. When future soccer and basketball stars arrive as freshmen to a significant NCAA program, regardless of all of the hundreds of thousands of {dollars} they’re anticipated to make of their future NFL or NBA careers, they’re nonetheless unestablished athletes who want the instruments/sources of a significant NCAA program to jumpstart their careers. In the long run, it was an NCAA program providing them their massive break and the chance to go on to develop into a well-known NBA or NFL celebrity.

Jade Carey

However in girls’s gymnastics it’s the different method round. It’s the athletes themselves who’re offering numerous NCAA packages with the chance to empower themselves. The arrival of Sunisa Lee at Auburn and Jade Carey at Oregon State immediately propelled two mid-level packages to the highest of the NCAA gymnastics echelon. Having a pair of Olympic gold medalists of their lineup recent of their latest success made these two packages immediately related. Their attendance swelled and so did media protection at each the native and nationwide degree.

Olivia Dunne, Sunisa Lee, and Jade Carey have energy that’s uncommon, if not fully unprecedented in NCAA sports activities. They’re really bigger than the packages they signify and whereas Cam Newton wanted a powerful SEC soccer program to launch himself to future NFL stardom, for Dunne, Lee, and Carey the stardom was already a given. These three gymnasts would have achieved success wherever they went and the media hoopla would have adopted no matter what program they selected to attend. Oregon State, Auburn, and LSU had been merely the packages fortunate sufficient to win the lottery by getting considered one of these celebrity gymnasts.

NCAA girls’s gymnastics is essentially completely different from most NCAA sports activities the place it’s normally this system empowering the athletes by giving stated athletes the chance to develop a big following for themselves. However because the careers of Sunisa Lee, Jade Carey, and Olivia Dunne reveal, it’s the celebrity gymnasts who’re bringing their massive following to the NCAA and giving faculty packages a chance to develop a big following of their very own.

Jade Carey



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Most Popular

Recent Comments