Is Nebraska Pole Vaulter Jess Gardner The Next Olivia Dunne?

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Olivia Dunne might have some serious competition coming from Jess Gardner.

Jess is a junior pole vaulter for the Nebraska Cornhuskers, and appears to be just as successful outside of sports as in it.

She was a Big Ten Distinguished Scholar and Academic All-Big Ten in 2021 and 2022. Very impressive for sure, but her true skills might be on TikTok.

While Jess Gardner only has a fraction of Dunne’s following on TikTok (6.9 million to just over 113,000 thousand), Jess shows a lot of potential. Specifically, she really seems to love lip syncing to popular hits.


Your Mark Colligan TJ and PV champs!! πŸ₯‡πŸŒŸβ£οΈ #huskers #nebraska #gbr #trackandfield

♬ i get the bag – sped up audios for you

Can Jess Gardner bring Nebraska back to being relevant?

Perhaps, Jess Gardner’s greatest goal here isn’t even the fact she might be able to cash in a bit thanks to NIL. After all, if Dunne has taught people one thing, there’s plenty of money to go around if you’re a social media star.

Her true calling might be to make people interested in Nebraska for the first time in a long time.


same thing different day @ashleymcelmurry πŸ’“

♬ Dont play with it x candy shop – Hunny Bee 😈

Let’s look at the facts in front of us. Nebraska football has turned into a cruel joke that nobody finds funny anymore. Can Matt Rhule turn it around? Maybe, but until he does, there’s no reason to get hopes up in Lincoln.

Matt Rhule Says He'd 'Give Anything' To Get Back Into Coaching
Can Nebraska be saved by Matt Rhule? (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

Nebraska hasn’t had a .500 season on the gridiron since 2016. The play has been brutally bad, and it’s not like the basketball team is proving much hope or inspiration. The Cornhuskers have just two winning basketball seasons in Big Ten play since joining the conference in 2021.

However, Jess Gardner appears ready to carry the torch of Nebraska athletics going forward. She seems more than up to the task of saving the athletic program in Lincoln.

At the very least, she can bring a ton of viral attention to the Cornhuskers. In the modern era of sports, that’s more important than you might realize.


we baaaaack @ashleymcelmurry ❀️‍πŸ”₯

♬ Dont play with it x candy shop – Hunny Bee 😈

the most wonderful time of the year πŸŽ„βœ¨πŸŽβ„οΈβ˜ƒοΈπŸŽ…πŸ½ Merry Christmas!

♬ original sound – 𝑡𝑨𝑻π‘ͺ𝑺𝑳𝑼𝑽𝑹❦

Jess Gardner might have a long way to go before even coming close to Dunne’s level, but she’s carving out her own path.

Something tells me her star is only going to continue to rise from here.

Written by David Hookstead

David Hookstead is a reporter for OutKick covering a variety of topics with a focus on football and culture.

He also hosts of the podcast American Joyride that is accessible on Outkick where he interviews American heroes and outlines their unique stories. Before joining OutKick, Hookstead worked for the Daily Caller for seven years covering similar topics.

Hookstead is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin.


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