One person is taking Caitlin Clark’s Olympics snub well. Caitlin Clark.


The reaction of fans and pundits to the decision to leave Caitlin Clark off Team USA’s roster for the Paris Olympics has ranged from anger to amazement — and virtually everything in between — but Clark herself seems to have taken the news in stride, saying she is looking forward to “a little time away from basketball and the craziness of everything that’s been going on.”

Although USA Basketball has not officially released the names of the 12 players on the team, two people with knowledge of the decision confirmed the roster to the The Washington Post on Saturday and Clark acknowledged that she would not be included.

“I’m excited for the girls that are on the team,” Clark told reporters Sunday. “I know it’s the most competitive team in the world and I know it could have gone either way — of me being on the team or me not being on the team, so I’m excited for them. I’m going to be rooting them on to win gold. I was a kid that grew up watching the Olympics, so it will be fun to watch them.

“Honestly, no disappointment. I think it just gives me something to work for; it’s a dream. Hopefully one day I can be there. I think it’s just a little more motivation. You remember that. Hopefully when four years comes back around, I can be there.”

Christie Sides, her coach with the WNBA’s Indiana Fever, said Clark had known since Friday that she would not be on the team.

“The thing she said was, ‘Hey, Coach, they woke a monster,’ which I thought was awesome,” Sides said. “She’s young, she’s going to have so many opportunities in the future.”

Clark, the No. 1 pick in the WNBA draft and the driving force behind the league’s skyrocketing attendance figures and TV ratings, is only 22. The Team USA squad that will try to win its 10th gold medal since 1984 has no player under 26, which is the age of New York’s Sabrina Ionescu and Las Vegas’ Jackie Young. Others on the team include five-time gold medalist Diana Taurasi, Brittney Griner (playing internationally for the first time since her 10-month detainment in Russia in 2022), Breanna Stewart, A’ja Wilson, Napheesa Collier, Kahleah Copper, Jewell Loyd, Alyssa Thomas, Kelsey Plum and Chelsea Gray.

Past U.S. teams have included the No. 1 WNBA draft pick in an Olympic year, doing so with Taurasi in 2004, Candace Parker in 2008 and Stewart in 2016. Parker entered the WNBA after winning two straight national titles with Tennessee and Stewart was coming off a run of four straight national championships. Taurasi, who turns 42 on Tuesday, had won three straight NCAA titles when she was named to her first team. Nneka Ogwumike, the No. 1 pick out of Stanford in 2012, was not included on the U.S. Olympic team.

The squad was selected by a committee that includes South Carolina Coach and former U.S. coach Dawn Staley, three-time Olympian and LSU assistant Seimone Augustus, two-time Olympian and Old Dominion Coach DeLisha Milton-Jones, Connecticut Sun president Jennifer Rizzotti and WNBA head of league operations Bethany Donaphin.

“They called me and let me know before everything came out, which was really respectful of them, and I appreciated that,” Clark said. “They did the same for every girl that made the team or every girl that didn’t make the team. There was a lot of players in the Olympic pool, it wasn’t like I was the only one they had to call. They had to make quite a few calls.”

The names of alternates are not typically released by USA Basketball, but the possibility of an injury occurring with the WNBA in full swing would result in an alternate being elevated. The projected roster and alternates must be submitted to FIBA, basketball’s world governing body, by late June.

While Clark is certainly one of the most popular players in women’s basketball, she’s had ups and downs during her rookie season. Her 5.6 turnovers per game leads the WNBA and she has never practiced with the senior national team, missing the final training camp before roster selection because her Iowa team was playing the NCAA tournament’s Final Four.

It wouldn’t help her that opponents are gunning for the U.S. team, which has won gold in the last seven Olympics without dropping a game. In February, the team edged Belgium on a buzzer beater from Breanna Stewart.

Clark will take an enforced rest, one that comes after her Hawkeyes played in the last two NCAA national championship games and traveled to Europe between seasons. Her arrival in the WNBA has prompted a media feeding frenzy — and, with Indiana playing 11 games in 20 days to start the season, she led the league in minutes played. Clark said she welcomes the break, but plans to “work on things that I want to get better at” and hit the weight room.

“It’s going to be really nice,” she said. “I’ve loved competing every single second, but it’s going to be a great month for my body, first of all, to get rest and get healthy and just get a little time away from basketball and the craziness of everything that’s been going on — just find some peace and quiet for myself.”

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