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Caitlin Clark snubbed from Olympic roster partly due to potential backlash over limited playing time: report

Clark has experience with the USA Basketball junior national team

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USA Basketball’s expected decision to leave Indiana Fever rookie Caitlin Clark off the roster for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris was met with questions Saturday morning, but one report shed some light on the decision.

Citing two sources, USA Today columnist Christine Brennan reported one factor in omitting Clark from the women’s national team was the concern about how the former Iowa star’s fans would react to her playing time in the Olympics, which would likely have been limited.

Caitlin Clark signs autographs

Caitlin Clark at the WNBA Draft at the Brooklyn Academy of Music April 15, 2024, in New York, N.Y. (Cora Veltman/Sportico via Getty Images)

Brennan described those sources as “long-time U.S. basketball veterans with decades of experience in the women’s game.”

Reports of the decision were met with fierce backlash on social media, and, as Brennan points out, seemingly confirmed the narrative that not everyone in the WNBA is pleased with Clark’s popularity.

“If true, that would be an extraordinary admission of the existence of real tension that the old guard of women’s basketball harbors for this multimillion-dollar sensation,” Brennan wrote of the sources’ knowledge.

Caitlin Clark looks on

Caitlin Clark of the Indiana Fever during the 2024 Commissioner’s Cup game against the New York Liberty June 2, 2024, in Brooklyn, N.Y.  (Catalina Fragoso/NBAE via Getty Images)

Clark was invited to the national team’s training camp in April, but because of the Iowa Hawkeyes’ success in reaching the women’s final in the NCAA tournament, she was unable to attend.

Nine other Olympians were invited to camp, including five-time gold medalist Diana Taurasi of the Phoenix Mercury, who is expected to return. Fever teammate Aliyah Boston was also invited to join the national team’s training roster in April.

Caitlin Clark dribbles the ball

Indiana Fever guard Caitlin Clark brings the ball up court against the Chicago Sky June 1, 2024, at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. (Brian Spurlock/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Clark has won three gold medals with USA Basketball junior national teams, including her latest with the 2021 USA Women’s U19 National Team.

The U.S. women have won every gold medal in women’s basketball since the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.