Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Caitlin Clark Says Her Goal Is to Join Team USA at Paris Olympics: ‘It’s Where I Want to Be’

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Caitlin Clark’s WNBA debut is less than a month away, but many are already wondering about her status for the Paris Olympics come July.

Clark, 22, is on the shortlist to make the Team USA women’s basketball team, the squad’s selection committee chair Jennifer Rizzotti told The Associated Press this week.

But the NCAA’s Division I all-time leading scorer will need to prove herself during the first few weeks of the season, Rizzotti said, as the Indiana Fever guard will be competing with five other talented American guards hoping to make the roster.

“You always want to introduce new players into the pool whether it’s for now or the future,” Rizzotti told the outlet. “We stick to our principles of talent, obviously, positional fit, loyalty and experience. It’s got to be a combination of an entire body of work. It’s still not going to be fair to some people.”

Clark missed Team USA’s last try-out because the session took place while she and the Iowa Hawkeyes were competing for the NCAA National Championship earlier this month. And the WNBA’s No. 1 overall draft pick’s competition is stiff, too. She’s vying for a roster spot alongside guards like Diana Taurasi, Chelsea Gray, Ariel Atkins, Jewell Loyd, Kelsey Plum and Sabrina Ionescu.

Team USA, who is looking for its eighth-straight gold medal at the Summer Games later this year, recently freed up a guard position after Sue Bird retired in 2022.

Caitlin Clark.

Sarah Stier/Getty


Clark is perhaps the most popular name in women’s basketball, but making the team is anything but a given. Rookies rarely make the squad, the last being Breanna Stewart in 2016.

“Obviously [Clark is] a great player and what she’s been able to accomplish in college, and now she’s taking it to the next level in the WNBA, and we’ll see how things go,” Stewart, 29, recently told The Los Angeles Times. “Obviously what I want to do is play alongside the other players that are named on this roster. I don’t know what that’s going to be, but I’m sure Caitlin has played USA Basketball before and I don’t think her time with USA Basketball is going to be done anytime soon.”

Caitlin Clark.

Gregory Shamus/Getty


The Des Moines, Iowa, native told reporters during a press conference at the NCAA Tournament this month that playing for Team USA at the upcoming Olympics “would be a dream,” according to CBS Sports.

And Clark wants that dream to begin sooner than later.  

“You always want to grow up and be on the Olympic team,” she said, getting asked about having to decline her invite to Team USA’s tryouts because of the Final Four. “Lucky for me, I have the opportunity to possibly not doing that because I want to be at the Final Four playing basketball with my team. But if not, that’s where I’ll be. People that are on that roster are people that I idolize and have idolized growing up. So just to be extended a camp invite is something you have to be proud of and celebrate and enjoy.”

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If Clark doesn’t make Team USA’s five-on-five squad, there is the potential she could represent the country on the women’s three-on-three team. But five-on-five is the goal, she told the AP.

“It’s where I want to be,” Clark said. “Three-on-three is really cool, I’ve just never done it. But 5-on-5 is the goal and the dream. To play with the best in the world and against the best in the world, you can’t script it better than that.”

The American women’s basketball team’s Olympic roster is scheduled to be announced sometime after June 1, the AP reported. The Fever open their regular season against the Phoenix Sun on May 14.

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