Debunking the rumor that Caitlin Clark could play against Team USA in Paris

Caitlin Clark’s omission from the 2024 U.S. women’s basketball Olympic roster has ignited endless debates among fans and media alike. Some call it a travesty that a rookie, still finding her footing in the WNBA, could be left off the team. Others are more pragmatic, suggesting that missing the Olympics might benefit Clark, given she’s been playing nonstop basketball since last fall.

But now, a rumor is gaining traction in the chaotic world of social media, one that could silence both sides of the debate. Some of Clark’s devoted followers believe she might swap the Stars and Stripes for the Maple Leaf and compete for Canada in the Olympics.

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Why would Clark, a player with extensive U.S. youth national team experience, consider such a move? It seems like the fan fiction season is in full swing. The idea of Clark defeating her American teammates might thrill a segment of her fanbase, though likely not Clark herself.

Regardless of the dubious nature of these rumors, one thing is clear: there’s a massive audience eager to see Clark at the 2024 Paris Games. Here’s what you need to know about the possibility of Clark playing for another country in this year’s Summer Olympics.

 

Can Caitlin Clark play for the Canadian Olympic team?

Caitlin Clark is not Canadian, nor are her parents, Anne and Brent. Born and raised in Iowa, she’s the epitome of the “American” athlete. Despite the lack of any legitimate connections to the Canadian national team, some continue to (jokingly or not) claim she could don Canada’s colors at the 2024 Paris Olympics.

If Clark’s parents were Canadian, they could pass down their citizenship to her, making her eligible to play for Canada, as she hasn’t yet participated in a major senior tournament with the United States. However, opting to join the Canadians for this year’s Olympics would likely mean forfeiting her chance to ever represent the U.S. again, barring extraordinary circumstances.

Interestingly, Clark might have a stronger case for playing for Italy in international competition due to her mother’s Sicilian heritage. For this, Clark would need to obtain Italian citizenship, which involves proving that her maternal grandparents were born in Italy and did not acquire any other citizenship (U.S. or otherwise) before her mother’s birth in Iowa.

Choosing Italy would be an odd move for Clark, given that Italy didn’t qualify for this year’s Olympic Games.

Here’s a breakdown of what you need to know about the prospect of Clark featuring for another country in the 2024 Summer Olympics:

  1. Canadian Connection: Non-existent. Clark has no legitimate ties to Canada that would allow her to switch national teams.
  2. Italian Heritage: Possible, through her mother’s Sicilian roots, but complicated and unlikely given Italy’s absence from the 2024 Olympics.
  3. Current Eligibility: Clark is firmly in the U.S. camp unless she navigates a complex citizenship process for another country.

So, while the rumors are entertaining, the reality is that Caitlin Clark is set to remain a staple of American basketball.

 

Did Caitlin Clark make the Olympic team?

Despite all the fanfare surrounding Caitlin Clark’s rise to the WNBA, she was left off this year’s Olympic roster. Head coach Cheryl Reeve chose to bring a veteran-heavy team to Paris, with only two players aged 26 or younger making the squad: Aces guard Jackie Young and Liberty guard Sabrina Ionescu.

 

Here’s a look at the team USA basketball is sending to France’s capital this summer:

Player Position WNBA Team
Napheesa Collier F Minnesota Lynx
Kahleah Copper G Phoenix Mercury
Chelsea Gray G Las Vegas Aces
Brittney Griner C Phoenix Mercury
Sabrina Ionescu G New York Liberty
Jewell Loyd G Seattle Storm
Kelsey Plum G Las Vegas Aces
Breanna Stewart F New York Liberty
Diana Taurasi G Phoenix Mercury
Alyssa Thomas F Connecticut Sun
A’ja Wilson F Las Vegas Aces
Jackie Young G Las Vegas Aces