Rebecca Lobo Explains Why Caitlin Clark Didn't Make Olympics Roster

The Olympic gold medalist broke down Clark's absence on the Team USA roster.
Jun 2, 2024; Brooklyn, New York, USA;  Indiana Fever guard Caitlin Clark (22) walks back to the bench in the third quarter against the New York Liberty at Barclays Center.
Jun 2, 2024; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Indiana Fever guard Caitlin Clark (22) walks back to the bench in the third quarter against the New York Liberty at Barclays Center. / Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports
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The sports world was abuzz this past weekend with the news that Caitlin Clark was not selected to take part in the 2024 Olympics as part of Team USA's women's basketball team. The news broke Saturday night and the outcry hasn't died down in the days that have passed. The question posed by analysts and casual fans alike: how could Clark, who has captured the attention of the nation with her electric play over the last year and helped propel women's basketball to a new stratosphere of media attention, not be part of Team USA's international showcase?

Rebecca Lobo had an answer for that question. The Women's Basketball Hall of Famer and longtime analyst appeared on Get Up on Monday morning to give some background behind Team USA's decision to leave Clark off the roster. She breaks down all the factors that go into such a decision beyond just on-court production. It was a very informative segment that helps contextualize why Clark won't be going to Paris for those unfamiliar with the process.

"When it comes to forming the women's Olympic team, it's a three-year process," Lobo explained. "They started having training camps back in February of (2022). They had a training camp in April of '22. Then the World Cup in the fall of '22. They had multiple training camps throughout the course of 2023 and then this year in February they went overseas for exhibitions. They had a training camp this April. All of the women who are in the pool and all of the women who ended up reportedly being on this roster participated in many of those.

"Why is that important? Because of the timing of the WNBA season. The WNBA takes a break during their summer season for the Olympics. The Olympic team has seven practices before they participate in the Olympics. All of these women you're seeing on the graphic that are reported to have made the roster have played with one another. All of them have had opportunities now over the last several years to learn (head coach) Cheryl Reeve's system. To learn one another. To learn some of the opponents they're going to face in the international game... Caitlin Clark, through no fault of her own, was not able to participate in any of those training camps."

It is difficult to debate these points. Clark's starpower is already unmatched among her WNBA counterparts; she is generational in that regard. But the job of the Team USA selection committee, and the players on the team, is to take home the gold medal. To win. In a vacuum Clark could definitely help them do that, and there's a case to be made she could help them do that better than some of the players on the roster.

But sports are not played in a vacuum. Clark missing all possible practices and games for the national team is a very difficult obstacle to overcome. Chemistry matters a lot, especially in international play, and Clark would be facing quite an uphill climb on that front if she were selected. Lobo does a great job of explaining that above. As a member of the 1996 Olympic team, she knows what it takes.

Interestingly, Lobo ended her segment by pointing out that Clark could be a top replacement option if someone were to drop out due to injury. Someone like Chelsea Gray, for example, who is unstoppable when healthy but hasn't played in nearly a year due to an injury suffered in the 2023 WNBA Finals. All the hubbub could very well be for naught.

For now, though, Clark isn't set to compete in the 2024 Olympic Games. And the way Lobo lays it all out, maybe that shouldn't be all that big of a surprise.


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Liam McKeone

LIAM MCKEONE

Liam McKeone is a Senior Writer for the Breaking & Trending News Team at Sports Illustrated. In addition to his role as a writer, he collaborates with other teams across Minute Media to help define his team’s content strategy. He has been in the industry as a content creator since 2017, and prior to joining SI in 2024, Liam worked for NBC Sports Boston and The Big Lead. In addition to his work as a writer, he has hosted the Press Pass Podcast covering sports media and The Big Stream covering pop culture. A graduate of Fordham University, Liam is always up for a good debate and enjoys loudly arguing about sports, rap music, books, and video games. Liam has been a member of the National Sports Media Association (NSMA) since 2020.