Kolkata: USA equestrian team, a powerhouse in the Olympics, named a debutant rider for Tokyo 2020 but with an all-too-familiar surname: Jessica Springsteen. The daughter of iconic rock musician Bruce Springsteen, who was a stand by for London 2012, will be heading to Tokyo 2020 riding Don Juan van de Donkhoeve alongside Olympic medallists Kent Farrington (riding Gazelle), Laura Kraut (Baloutinue) and McLain Ward (Contagious).
The 29-year-old Springsteen, whose legendary father’s timeless hits include Born to Run, Dancing in the Dark and Thunder Road, learnt the ropes as a four-year-old at the family farm in New Jersey. She has since gone on to become one of the best riders in her country, winning the 2014 American Gold Cup and the 2017 Falcon Stakes CSI 5* at the Royal Windsor Horse Show riding Davendy S.
Speaking to CNN during an interview four years back, Jessica Springsteen revealed that it was her mother who originally encouraged her to take up horse riding. “She started taking lessons and then I also wanted to start. I never wanted to miss a lesson and I ended up being right across the street from a really top junior training barn called Beacon Hill,” she recalled.
The other members of the US team bring with them a wealth of Olympic experience, with 45-year-old McLain Ward winning Team Jumping gold at Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008, in addition to silver at Rio 2016, Kent Farrington, now 40, won the Team Jumping silver at Rio 2016 and 55-year-old Laura Kraut was a Team Jumping gold medallist at Beijing 2008.
Springsteen will be hoping to build upon the success of her more experienced team members when she participates in her debut Games. The US team has won Team Jumping medals at six of the last nine Olympic Games.
Robert Ridland, Chef d’Equipe, expressed great belief in the riders who will represent the USA at Tokyo 2020. ‘‘I feel very confident that the seasoned group of riders that we will be sending to Tokyo is in top current form and peaking at just the right time,” he was quoted at Olympics.com. “We’re looking forward to the next few weeks ahead and are aiming to deliver a strong performance for Team USA in Tokyo,” he added.
The Tokyo 2020 Team Jumping qualifying and final takes place on August 6-7, 2021.