Team USA Passes on Clark

Olympics roster is packed with veterans
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 8, 2024 12:05 PM CDT
Team USA Passes on Clark
Indiana Fever guard Caitlin Clark reacts after scoring against the Seattle Storm in a WNBA game on May 30 in Indianapolis.   (AP Photo/Doug McSchooler, File)

As of now, Caitlin Clark, one of the biggest attractions in basketball, is not on Team USA for the Summer Olympics in Paris. The roster, which has not been officially announced yet, tilts heavily toward veterans with Olympics experience, the Athletic reports. Clark is in her rookie season in the WNBA. Although she had some international experience with USA Basketball when she was younger, Clark couldn't attend the national training camp this year because she was busy leading the University of Iowa to victory in the Final Four. That meant the Team USA bosses couldn't assess how Clark would fit in with the other stars, per the AP.

They're not kidding about wanting veterans: Diana Taurasi will set a record by playing in her sixth Olympics. She'll be 42 by the first tipoff; Clark is 22. Her teammates will be A'ja Wilson, Breanna Stewart, Brittney Griner, Alyssa Thomas, Napheesa Collier, Jewell Loyd, Kelsey Plum, Jackie Young, Sabrina Ionescu, Chelsea Gray, and Kahleah Copper, per the Athletic. The decision to pass on Clark makes sense enough in a win-the-games sense, per NBC News: Clark's WNBA career has begun slowly, though she was named player of the month for May. But many of those on the roster have played together successfully, and there's plenty of talent even without Clark.

Team USA, though, is skipping a chance to create even more buzz around the Olympics. In addition, the Athletic points out, the team in the past has included young players who were unlikely to make a difference at the time but represented the future of the sport. The youngest player as of now is the 26-year-old Ionescu. Alternates won't be named, but it's still possible Clark could join the team as a replacement. The women's team has won the gold medal at every Olympics since 1996.

  • The Athletic looks at the decision the team faced here.
(More Caitlin Clark stories.)

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