Jessica Rae Springsteen – daughter of legendary American singer Bruce – is at Tokyo 2020 and ready to rock.
The 29-year-old rider will claim a stage bigger than any her father has performed on when she steps out on horse Don Juan Van de Donkhoeve in the equestrian individual show jumping qualifiers later today (Tuesday 3 August) in Japan.
Born in the U.S.A, made at Tokyo 2020
Springsteen’s Olympic debut has been a long time coming.
At London 2012, she featured but as an alternate meaning she never got to feel the Olympic spotlight. An ongoing injury to her horse’s leg then ruled the pair out of the running for Rio 2016.
Now sitting comfortably in the third position in the U.S. Show Jumping rankings, Springsteen is finally ready to show the Games what she, and her 12-year-old stallion, are capable of.
"Throughout my career, representing my country has been my goal, and so to be doing so at the Olympics, it's a huge honor," Jessica said. "I couldn't be more excited." Jessica Springsteen to ESPN
Team USA: hunting more Glory Days
There is more than an individual medal at stake for Springsteen into today’s equestrian qualifying event.
If the youngest member of Team USA is to compete for team jumping gold on Saturday 7 August, then a high finish in the individual jumping event is a must. Only three riders get to compete in the team competition and Springsteen faces tough opposition from her teammates.
45-year-old McLain Ward won back-to-back Team Jumping gold at Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008; 40-year-old Kent Farrington won Team Jumping silver at Rio 2016 and 55-year-old Laura Kraut banked a Team Jumping gold at Beijing 2008.
There is also the additional pressure of history. The U.S. has won medals in team jumping at six of the last nine Olympic Games. All four riders will be wanting to contribute their bit to what is an already illustrious legacy.
Not Born to Run but born to ride
Springsteen’s mother had always wanted her daughter to ride, so when Bruce Springsteen and his wife, Patti Scialfa, made the decision to move their family away from the high life of California to a farm in New Jersey, a four-year-old Jessica began taking lessons.
The Springsteen family farm also happened to be just opposite the well-regarded Beacon Hill Show Stables.
Its influence did not need to reach too far as Springsteen soon fell in love with the sport. The rock star's daughter started show jumping and competing, winning her first national horse show in 2008.
Prancing in the Dark under the lights in Tokyo
The jumping individual qualifiers will begin this evening at 19:00 JST. That is 06:00 in Springsteen’s native New Jersey.
73 riders will compete in the qualifying event, and the best 30 athletes (including all tied for 30th place) will progress to the individual final taking palace tomorrow, Wednesday 4 August again at 19:00 JST.
Springsteen will be the first member of Team USA to compete; she is number 49 in the start order. Her teammate Farrington will follow for the U.S. as rider number 59 and Kraut will round things off as rider number 66.