L.A. Olympics official: Leaving Caitlin Clark off 2024 U.S. team 'missed opportunity'

INDIANAPOLIS — Casey Wasserman, president of the 2028 Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee, said Saturday night that the USA Basketball decision to not put Caitlin Clark on the 2024 Olympic team was “a missed opportunity.”

“I think it’s a missed opportunity because she’s clearly a generational talent at a time when the world was ready for it,” Wasserman, also head of the sports marketing and management company bearing his name, said at the U.S. Olympic swimming trials.

“There have been incredible talents in the world, shame on all of us, the world wasn’t in a place to embrace that,” Wasserman said. “Take Diana (Taurasi) or Breanna Stewart, or some of our (Wasserman) clients who are going to be on the team. They are dominant at a level that’s never been seen before but the world wasn’t ready to fill a building like Caitlin Clark did for whatever, the Final Four.

“Now you have both those things and so that’s a powerful opportunity and I just think it would have been an opportunity to elevate the women’s team but I understand the other side of it, which is it’s an independent process and it’s hard to get in the way of telling (the coach and the committee) what to do.”

Said Wasserman: “I understand both sides of the issue but purely as an opportunity to showcase a generational talent to the world, clearly. But I totally get both sides of it. If it were simple, we wouldn’t be debating it.”

Wasserman did say the timing of the USA Basketball national team training camp, which was held in Cleveland at the same time that Clark’s Iowa team was playing in the Women’s Final Four, was not ideal.

“Unfortunately, I think something USA Basketball needs to look at is the qualification process for the players if you have athletes going deep into the NCAA tournament, it makes it really difficult to participate in the process, so you don’t even necessarily get the opportunity that others do,” he said.

“Whether she should have been on or not, she didn’t really have the chance to be on the court at the time in those moments to be judged in the same way. And that’s a hard thing for an athlete.”

As the person running the next Summer Olympics, Wasserman definitely wants to see Clark in L.A.

“I certainly hope she’ll be at the 2028 Olympics,” he said. “She’s a great star and the future of American basketball is bright.”

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: LA Olympics official: No Caitlin Clark this year 'missed opportunity'