What Caitlin Clark Told Fever Coach Christie Sides After Missing U.S. Olympic Team

Caitlin Clark was left off the U.S. Olympic women's basketball team for the 2024 Paris Olympics. It's a decision the Indiana Fever rookie respects. But she did tell her coach, Christie Sides, that the snub provided a little additional motivation.
Indiana Fever guard Caitlin Clark reacts to a call
Indiana Fever guard Caitlin Clark reacts to a call / Michelle Pemberton/IndyStar / USA TODAY
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Being left off the U.S. Olympic women's basketball team seems to providing additional motivation for Indiana Fever rookie Caitlin Clark. The No. 1 overall pick had a very direct message for her coach, Christie Sides, after hearing the news.

Despite her superstar status, Clark was not one of the 12 players selected to represent the United States in the 2024 Paris Olympics. The rookie said she was not disappointed in the decision to be left off the roster, but she did tell Sides that it gives her something to work towards.

"We talked actually on the bus. She got the call on the bus and she text me to let me know. I just tried to keep her spirits (up)," Sides told reporters. "The thing she said was, 'Hey coach, they woke a monster.' Which I thought was awesome."

Clark has put together a solid rookie campaign through the first month of the WNBA season, averaging 16.8 points, 6.3 assists and 5.3 rebounds per game. She has struggled with turnovers, though, with 5.6 per contest.

This year's Olympic roster includes 12 incredibly talented players. The selections include Napheesa Collier (Minnesota Lynx), Kahleah Copper (Phoenix Mercury), Chelsea Gray (Las Vegas Aces), Brittney Griner (Phoenix Mercury), Sabrina Ionescu (New York Liberty), Jewell Loyd (Seattle Storm), Kelsey Plum (Las Vegas Aces), Breanna Stewart (New York Liberty), Diana Taurasi (Phoenix Mercury), Alyssa Thomas (Connecticut Sun), A'ja Wilson (Las Vegas Aces), Jackie Young (Las Vegas Aces).

After learning the news, Clark said she's still supportive of the team and wants the group to find gold medal success.

"I'm excited for the girls that are on the team. 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, me not being on the team," Clark said. "So, I'm excited for them. I'm gonna be rooting for them to win gold. I was a kid who grew up watching the Olympics, so, yeah, it'll be fun watching them."

The silver lining? Clark will finally get a chance to rest after a taxing year. The rookie had to make a quick transition from college to the WNBA. Plus, there's been a media circus following her every move. When the Olympics roll around, she'll be able to take a bit of a breather.

Sides told reporters that she was disappointed for Clark, but knows she's going to have so many chances to make the elite Olympic squad in the future.

"Yeah, a little disappointed, of course. She's my player," she said. "That's the hardest team in the world to make. That's a tough team. She's young, she's gonna have so many opportunities in the future."

Dustin Schutte