Caitlin Clark Addresses USA Basketball Olympic Team Snub

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Indiana Fever rookie guard Caitlin Clark spoke publicly Sunday (June 9) for the first time since reports of being left off the 2024 U.S. Olympic women's basketball roster.

“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 said she was notified by Team USA of its decision prior to reports.

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

Clark was selected by the Fever at No. 1 overall in the 2024 WNBA Draft in April and has averaged 16.8 points, 6.3 assists and 5.3 rebounds through her first 12 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.

Clark's final collegiate game, a loss to South Carolina in the March Madness Final, was the most viewed women's sporting event in history, peaking at 24 million viewers and averaging 18.7 million, which was a larger than the men's final for the first time in history. The Fever's season-opener, which marked Clark's WNBA debut, averaged 2.12 million viewers, which was the league's most-viewed game in 23 years and Indiana has been in four of the WNBA's highest-viewed games of the 2024 season, all exceeding an average of 1.5 million viewers, according to Sportsnaut.

Clark has also been at the center of heated debates over how she's been treated by other WNBA players, specifically veterans, amid her popularity, which included discussions around a hard foul from Chicago Sky guard Chennedy Carter being upgraded to a flagrant 1 launching in heated debates.

“Sometimes it stinks how much the conversation is outside of basketball and not the product on the floor and the amazing players that are on the floor and how good they are for their teams and how great this season has been for women’s basketball,” Clark told USA TODAY prior to the Fever's win against the Washington Mystics Friday night.

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