Jessica Springsteen hoping to boss Tokyo Equestrian Park on Olympic debut

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Jessica Springsteen riding Don Juan van de Donkhoeve (Steve Parsons/PA) (PA Wire)
Jessica Springsteen riding Don Juan van de Donkhoeve (Steve Parsons/PA) (PA Wire)

Rock superstardom reached Tokyo Equestrian Park on Tuesday when Bruce Springsteen’s daughter was set to make her Olympic Games debut.

Jessica Springsteen, daughter of ‘The Boss’ and Patti Scialfa, is the youngest member of the United States’ showjumping team.

At 29, she is rated among the sport’s brightest stars, with an Olympic team medal a distinct possibility alongside world-renowned performers in Kent Farrington and Laura Kraut.

Jessica Springsteen competing at the Royal Windsor Horse Show (Steve Parsons/PA) (PA Archive)
Jessica Springsteen competing at the Royal Windsor Horse Show (Steve Parsons/PA) (PA Archive)

Some of Springsteen’s hits would certainly have fitted the bill – Born in the USA, Born to Run, Thunder Road – as Jessica lined up in the individual qualifier on 12-year-old stallion Don Juan van de Donkhoeve.

Currently ranked in the world’s top 15, she hoped to finish among the leading 30 riders from more than 70 starters and book a place in Wednesday’s individual final.

Her parents were expected to be watching on television at home in California as the four-day showjumping programme began at an empty stadium.

“This is not only my first Olympics, but also my first championships,” Springsteen said. “I am so excited to represent my country at this level.

“It is something I have always dreamt of, and I am just really looking forward to the experience.

“Just to be selected on this team that I have looked up to throughout my career has been a huge honour for me.”

Springsteen feels that her horse, a Belgian Warmblood, has prospered from an extra year’s training following the Tokyo Games’ postponement last year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Me and Don have been able to build on our partnership over this last year,” she added.

Bruce Springsteen will be watching from California (Isabel Infantes/PA) (PA Archive)
Bruce Springsteen will be watching from California (Isabel Infantes/PA) (PA Archive)

“And when it came time to the selection events, I felt really confident how far we had come.

“When I got Don he was jumping up to three-star level, so I kind of brought him up to this level. It was about fine-tuning everything, getting used to jumping these bigger tracks.

“I think your natural reaction when you are jumping big is you want to ride a little bit stronger.

“But with him, he doesn’t need that. He just rides off my feeling and I can trust his scope and quality.”

And it might be that at some point over the next few days, Springsteen will be the latest family member taking ownership of a gold disc.

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