Jessica Springsteen becomes Olympic champion in show jumping in front of an empty arena on Tuesday Olympic Games in Tokyowho takes the famous family name to new frontiers as her biggest supporters watch from her New Jersey home.
Springsteen, 29, will fulfill a lifelong dream when she takes her 12-year-old stallion Don Juan van de Donkhoeve to the Equestrian Park and represents the USA. She missed Rio 2016 and was an alternative in London four years earlier.
Her father is the singer-songwriter Bruce Springsteen. Jessica was born in 1991 and arrived in the middle of his E Street bands hiatus when the family moved from New Jersey to California. Bruce tested his creative skills by releasing albums such as “Human Touch” and “Lucky Town”.
Now, almost 30 years later, that ambition has passed on to Jessica, who is currently number 14 in the world in the show jumping competition of the FEI.
“She said early on that she didn’t want to be known as Bruce Springsteen’s daughter alone,” Olympic champion Melanie Smith Taylor told the New York Post. “She wanted to go her own way. She really does. She’s very much at the elite level of the sport because of her performance.”
Springsteen is the youngest member of the US team, which includes Kent Farrington, McLain Ward and Laura Kraut. Jessica was just one year old when Kraut, one of her idols, made her Olympic debut in Barcelona in 1992.
Bruce and his wife Patti Scialfa – who is a member of the E Street Band – returned to New Jersey in the early 1990s to keep their privacy and reconnect with their roots. The couple bought the 368-acre Stone Hill Farm in Colts Neck, which happened to be across from the prestigious Beacon Hill Show Stables.
Stone Hill had goats, chickens, pigs, and two ostriches, but it was the horses that sparked the imagination of Jessica, who described herself as an introverted adolescent. She started riding at the age of 4 and owned her first pony two years later.
“I started riding when I was very little,” Jessica told People Magazine. “My mom always wanted to ride horses and when we moved to New Jersey she started taking lessons.”
It wasn’t long before she started show jumping and competitions, winning the ASPCA Maclay Finals in 2008 and the WEF Excellence in Equitation Championship in 2009. In 2010 she started in Grand Prix jumping, the highest level in the sport.
Jessica traveled to London with the team in 2012 but got no chance to compete. She then won the 2014 American Gold Cup and won her first five-star event in 2016, but it wasn’t enough to make the cut for the Rio Games.
“It’s easy to be defeated, but you have to wipe it off and move on,” she told World of Showjumping in 2019.
Jessica is the middle of Bruce and Patti’s three children, Evan was born in 1990 and Samuel arrived in 1994. All three starred as backup vocalists in Bruce’s 2002 song “Down in the Hole,” but each Springsteen kid went a different way. Evan followed in his father’s footsteps and is a singer-songwriter, while Samuel was sworn in as a firefighter in New Jersey in 2020.
Jessica graduated from Duke with a degree in Psychology in 2014 and has been fully committed to show jumping.
In the five years between Rio 2016 and the belated Tokyo Olympics, she rose to the top and started working with her current horse in 2019. The pairing put her on the Olympic radar when she helped the US jumping team win the FEI Jumping Nations Cup USA in 2020. She would add her own individual win at the K 4 * Grand Prix Hubside Jumping Tour on June 13 in France .
Her place at the Olympics was confirmed in early July, much to her and her parents’ delight.
“They [Bruce and Patti] Obviously they found their passion for music when they were younger and they realize how hard it is, “Jessica told the Robb Report.” Some people go through their entire lives without finding something they really love so they just pushed me. They know you just have to keep going. And that’s what they really instilled in me. “
Parenthood taught Bruce Springsteen the importance of being quiet. He learned the importance of gaining experience. In a podcast with Barack Obama, in an episode called “Fatherhood,” they talk about how as a father they have changed the way you approach life. For the man nicknamed “The Boss”, this meant he wouldn’t go on long tours. After having their first child, Evan, in 1990, he remembered one moment when it became clear and they decided a three week tour would be fine, but anything longer was a bad idea. “I experienced fearless love for the first time in my life,” Bruce said on his podcast. “I never thought I’d be able to feel that.”
This year she split time between Europe, after moving to Valkenswaard in the Netherlands in 2015, and Florida. You and your teammates have a good chance of winning gold at the team event in Tokyo. Individual medals go to the drivers who stay cool with water jumps, parallel rails and triple bars.
“There’s really no other sport like it, and I think the connection you develop with horses is very special,” said Jessica. “That has attracted me since I was a child and that is what I still love most about it: How synchronized you can be with your horse. Once you’ve built that partnership, the horses can read what you’re thinking before you even ask them to. “
Since this is a sport that some athletes practice at the highest level well into their 50s, Jessica will start more Olympics in the future. But her qualification for Tokyo 2020 adds a new dimension to the name Springsteen.
With Bruce’s Broadway show on a month-long hiatus, there will only be one Springsteen with her name on for the next week and that is Jessica’s.
“My goal throughout my career has been to represent my country and so it is a great honor to be able to do so at the Olympics,” said Jessica. “I couldn’t be more excited.”