We Now Know Why Caitlin Clark Won't Be Going To The Olympics

Caitlin Clark was one of the University of Iowa women's basketball team's greatest assets, despite being outshined by South Carolina star, Raven Johnson. Now Clark's dominating in the WNBA as well. And though it's only been a couple of months since she joined the Indiana Fever, her name has already proven to be a media magnet, which has helped bolster support and feverish debate for and within women's basketball. Given her accolades, it wasn't beyond the realm of possibility to assume that Clark's next step would be to ascend to Team USA as part of the Olympic women's basketball team. However, to the shock and dismay of sports fans everywhere, she didn't claim a spot.

According to Jen Rizzotti, the selection committee chair, several factors are considered when crafting the 12-woman team. "And when you base your decision on criteria, there were other players that were harder to cut because they checked a lot more boxes," shared Rizzotti with the Associated Press. As for why Clark wasn't selected, her rookie status played a major role. "It would be irresponsible for us to talk about her in a way other than how she would impact the play of the team," Rizzotti added. "Because it wasn't the purview of our committee to decide how many people would watch or how many people would root for the U.S. It was our purview to create the best team we could for [coach] Cheryl [Reeve]."

Despite their reasoning, the decision has sparked commentary and chaos online. 

Caitlin Clark and more respond

Before we dive into some of the coarser commentary surrounding Caitlin Clark's Olympic snub, you should know her own comments rang much calmer. "I think it just gives you something to work for," Clark shared of her thought process surrounding the decision (via AP News). "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," she continued. Clark also expressed her excitement for the team of women who made the lineup. "Going to be rooting them on to win gold," she said. "I was a kid that grew up watching the Olympics. It'll be fun to watch them."

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has also commented on Clark not making Team USA, and he wasn't exactly enthused by the decision. While Silver stated that the NBA and WNBA operated independently from the selection committee for USA Basketball, and that he believed they made the best decision for their organization, he wanted a different outcome for Clark. "I'd say from my standpoint, and I'm independent from USA Basketball − somebody whose job is to oversee the NBA and ultimately the WNBA − I wouldn't say I'm disappointed, but it would've been nice to see her on the floor," shared Silver during a charity event by NBA Cares in June 2024 (via USA Today).

Silver also was confident that Clark would get another shot in the future.

Basketball fans are divided over Caitlin Clark's absence

Basketball fans are engaging in spirited debates about Caitlin Clark's Olympic team diss. Of course, many people are ready for Clark to represent the United States on an international scale. "Caitlin Clark should be on the Women's U.S. Olympic Basketball team. That's it. That's the tweet," tweeted former collegiate swimmer Riley Gaines, who racked up 28,000 likes. A second fan agreed, arguing they'd skip Team USA's games. "On a good note, I don't have to worry about watching the Women's U.S. Olympic Basketball team," they tweeted.

However, not everyone thinks she deserved a spot on the team. One fan posted a clip of Alyssa Thomas, who made Team USA, taking a basketball from Clark, as proof of her inadequacy. "Sheesh Caitlin Clark got the ball literally ripped out of her hands by Alyssa Thomas...but y'all thought she could hang at the Olympics," they tweeted. Meanwhile, another fan offered a more diplomatic response to Clark's plight. "There's a lot of fake outrage from people who just started watching women's basketball this year," they tweeted. "The (historically undefeated) U.S. Women's Olympic basketball team will be just fine without Caitlin Clark, and she will be just fine waiting another 4 years for her turn."

Despite the diverse range of opinions swirling around her career, it's clear that the basketball star is unfazed by the noise.