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Jessica Springsteen misses equestrian individual final by one spot, awaits team competition (See Update Below)

Tue, August 3,  2021, 9:49 AM

Jessica Springsteen did not qualify for the equestrian individual jumping final at the Tokyo Olympics nor did her Team USA teammates. They will return to competition this weekend for the team jumping competition.

Springsteen, the daughter of Bruce Springsteen and Patti Scialfa, is ranked 14th in the world in show jumping. She made her Olympic debutwith horse Don Juan van de Donkhoeve, a 12-year-old Belgian Warmblood stallion owned by Stone Hill Farm where the Springsteen family lives in New Jersey.

The duo completed a beautiful run through the 17-jump course, but one bar fell down on a late jump. They had four jump penalties and finished in 87.15 (there are 89 seconds allowed) that initially tied for 24th with 24 riders left to go behind them. By the end they completed qualification tied for 31st, slightly out of contention.

The best 30 riders, including those tied for 30th, as well as their trusty horses advance to the individual final (Wednesday, 6 a.m. ET). There were 73 competitors and 30 cleared every obstacle on Tuesday, though five had time penalties.

Team USA misses individual contention

Springsteen is the youngest competitor of the four-person USA delegation. McLain Ward, 45, was a back-to-back Olympic team jumping gold medalist in 2004 and 2008. He was named the reserve athlete ahead of the event.

Laura Kraut, 55, was also on the Beijing team. Her eight jump penalties in a time of 85.23 placed her out of contention. Kent Farrington, 40, won team jumping silver at Rio alongside Ward. Farrington tied Springsteen with four jump penalties in a time of 88.57.

The U.S. has medaled in team jumping in six of the last nine Olympic Games. The team jumping event is Saturday at 6 a.m. ET.

Springsteen's quest for an Olympics

It was a long trip to Tokyo for both Springsteen and Don Juan van de Donkhoeve. Springsteen, 29, has long been one of the country's top competitors in show jumping and has represented the U.S. several times at the FEI Nations Cup. The Duke graduate was named an alternate for Team USA at the 2012 London Games at the age of 20, but was not in the running for the 2016 Rio Olympics team because of an ongoing injury to her horse's leg.

In 2019, she teamed up with Don Juan and they helped the U.S. win the FEI Jumping Nations Cup USA the following year. The duo placed third together at the Rolex Grand Prix of Rome in May and took an individual victory in France in June, some of Springsteen's best international results. She said this week her partnership with Don Juan "has really solidified over the past year" and she feels more prepared than she might have if the Olympics went on in 2020.

Riders commonly continue competing into their 40s and 50s, so there are many more opportunities for Springsteen to compete at an Olympic Games.

Jessica Springsteen, US equestrian team win silver in team jumping

Baby, she was born to ride.

Jessica Springsteen, daughter of musician and New Jersey icon Bruce Springsteen, earned a silver medal with the US equestrian jumping team at the 2021 Olympics after falling to Sweden in a nail-biting jump-off Saturday night in Tokyo.

It was the 29-year-old’s first Olympic medal in her debut and Team USA’s second straight silver. The Americans now have a record 10 medals in the event.

Riding Don Juan Van de Donkhoeve, a 12-year-old Belgian Warmblood stallion, Springsteen incurred four of Team USA’s eight faults in the final to take them to a jump-off with Sweden.

All six riders had clear rounds, but Sweden’s total time of 122.90 seconds staved off the Americans by a mere 1.3 seconds to take gold.  

“I was disappointed to have the four faults,” Springsteen told reporters, per The Guardian. “I kind of took for granted a little bit, I wasn’t really expecting that to be one of my challenges. So I’m disappointed in that regard. But I thought my horse jumped the rest of the course absolutely beautifully and, I was just thinking of that left-hand turn there I want it to be neat on my time so, I think that’s why I had it down but all in all, he was amazing this entire week so, I’m so happy him.”

From left, Laura Kraut, Jessica Springsteen and McLain Ward hold up their silver medals.
From left, Laura Kraut, Jessica Springsteen and McLain Ward with their silver medals.
AFP via Getty Images

Peder Fredricson, the final Swedish rider, posted a time of 39.01 seconds to secure the country’s record fourth gold medal and first since 1924.

Earlier this week, Springsteen failed to qualify for the finals in the Individual Jumping event after her horse clipped a rail. But riding alongside teammates Laura Kraut and McLain Ward in jump-off Saturday, Springsteen was able to wipe away some of that disappointment. Springsteen, Kraut and Ward each moved cleanly through the shortened jump-off course in a combined time of 124.2 seconds.

Springsteen, who is also the daughter of Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Patti Scialfa, grew up on the family’s horse farm in Colts Neck, New Jersey.

E Street Band guitar player Stevie Van Zandt tweeted up a storm during Springsteen’s run at silver.

“Is everybody watching this? It’s incredible! Jesse will be Gold or Silver! It’s a play off (jump off) between USA and Sweden,” Van Zandt wrote in a tweet.

Later, the guitar player wrote: “It’s her first freakin Olympics! Absolutely incredible! She’s put in years of hard work of course, but still!”

Springsteen is currently the highest-placed woman in the International Federation for Equestrian Sports world rankings (14th). After serving as an alternate for the 2012 London Olympics, Springsteen failed to make the cut for Rio in 2016.

Last edited by Oats
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From today's the San Francisco Chronicle:

Postcard from Tokyo: Let's cover Springsteen! I mean, equestrian!

Photo of Ann Killion

TOKYO — Maybe it’s a good thing there aren’t spectators allowed here. Or at least maybe it was a good thing on Tuesday, when the equestrian jumping qualifying took place.

Because if spectators, such as parents, were allowed, every other American athlete was at risk of being completely ignored by the nation’s media.


Because Jessica Springsteen was attempting to qualify for the finals. Yes, Springsteen is the daughter of that Springsteen.

And if her father, Bruce, and her mother, Patty Scialfa, had been allowed to be in attendance, American sportswriters might have flocked to the equestrian park in Kamiyoga.

Forget Simone Biles in the balance beam. Ignore all the track athletes at Olympic Stadium. Skip cycling and sport climbing and weightlifting. Sportswriters would have been trying to convince their editors that equestrian was the one event that really must be covered.

It’s not big secret, but American sportswriters love the Boss. I mean really, really, love the Boss. I’ve known some who plan their travel schedule around Springsteen’s concert tours. This is mostly, but not exclusively, a male phenomenon, but then, historically, sportswriting is mostly, but not exclusively, a male profession. But I’m part of the group: I’m a lifelong Springsteen fan, with concert attendance well in the double digits.

The sportswriter-Springsteen obsession is so real that that Deadspin wrote an entire column about it once. That was seven years ago, and a lot of the people who love Bruce have left the business, either by choice or because, well, newspapers.

But there are still enough of us old farts around who would get a thrill out of seeing Springsteen in the stands at something we cover, instead of us being in the stands to watch him. A few even would attempt to write stories completely out of Springsteen lyrics.

Surely, poor Jessica knows this. She’s 29 and has lived an existence of people trying to meet her dad or making “Born in the USA” jokes.

She has a shield. The U.S. equestrian public-relations staff reportedly screened questions earlier in the week and warned no one to ask her a question about her family after Tuesday’s competition. Jessica’s appearance in the mixed zone was brief. Kevin Durant and Biles might be here, but there’s no fame like rock-star-daughter fame.

She’ll compete Friday in the team event. Attention, media: Her dad still won’t be here.

Ann Killion is a columnist for The San Francisco Chronicle.


"I've done my best to live the right way"

@DenverBrian posted:

That is amazing!  Congrats to Jessica and the entire US equestrian team.

Ditto that!  Just making the U.S. Olympic team is a great accomplishment.  It's probably the first of many such appearances for Jessica.  You go Girl!!!


The SPL Rocks!


Pulled up to my house today
Came and took my little girl away!
Giants Stadium 8/28/03


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