Caitlin Clark's Olympics Exclusion Is 'Missed Opportunity,' Official Says

By Jason Hall

June 24, 2024

Chicago Sky v Indiana Fever
Photo: Getty Images

A Los Angeles Olympics official called Indiana Fever rookie guard Caitlin Clark's exclusion from the USA Basketball roster for the 2024 Paris Olympics "a missed opportunity."

“I think it’s a missed opportunity because she’s clearly a generational talent at a time when the world was ready for it,” said Casey Wasserman, president of the 2028 Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee, as well as the head of the sports marketing and management company bearing his name, during the U.S. Olympic swimming trials via USA TODAY. “There have been incredible talents in the world, shame on all of us, the world wasn’t in a place to embrace that,” Wasserman said. “Take Diana (Taurasi) or Breanna Stewart, or some of our (Wasserman) clients who are going to be on the team. They are dominant at a level that’s never been seen before but the world wasn’t ready to fill a building like Caitlin Clark did for whatever, the Final Four.

“Now you have both those things and so that’s a powerful opportunity and I just think it would have been an opportunity to elevate the women’s team but I understand the other side of it, which is it’s an independent process and it’s hard to get in the way of telling (the coach and the committee) what to do.”

Clark addressed her exclusion from the USA Basketball roster on June 9.

“I’m excited for the girls that are on the team,” Clark said via the Athletic's James Boyd. “I know it’s the most competitive team in the world and I know it could’ve gone either way, me being on the team or me not being on the team. I’m excited for them, gonna be rooting them on to win gold. I was a kid that grew up watching the Olympics, it’ll be fun to watch them.”

Clark added that she wasn't disappointed, but planned to use the decision as motivation.

“Honestly, no disappointment,” Clark said via the New York Post. “I think it just gives you something to work for. It’s a dream, hopefully one day I can be there. I think it’s just a little bit more motivation. You remember that and hopefully when four years comes back around, I can be there.”

Clark was selected by the Fever at No. 1 overall in the 2024 WNBA Draft in April and has averaged 16.3 points, 6.6 assists and 5.4 rebounds through her first 18 games. The former University of Iowa standout is the all-time leading scorer in NCAA basketball history and her collegiate dominance has led to a significant spike in the popularity of women's basketball.

The Fever have accounted for all of the five most-watched WNBA games since 2002, which includes their June 16 win against the Chicago Sky (1.3 rating and 2.25 million viewers) surpassing Clark's WNBA debut on ESPN2 Opening Night as the league's most-watched game since the 2001 Memorial Day matchup between the Los Angeles Sparks and Houston Comets, which totaled 2.44 million viewers.

This story is brought to you by the Women's Sports Audio Network (WSAN). WSAN is the first-ever audio platform dedicated exclusively to women's sports. WSAN celebrates female athletes and gives an in-depth look into their personal experiences in and out of their respective sports. Check out more on the WSAN site.

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