Jessica Springsteen wins silver in in equestrian team jumping final

Jessica Springsteen, daughter of American singer Bruce Springsteen and singer-songwriter Patti Scialfa, has won silver in the equestrian team jumping final in her Olympic debut.

The 29-year-old equestrian rode alongside two teammates, two-time gold medalist McLain Ward and one-time gold medalist Laura Kraut. Springsteen is currently ranked 14th in the world in showjumping.

Sweden beat out the United States in a nail-biting jump-off, which occurs when the top two teams are tied — a unique event for an Olympic debut. 

The horse and rider pairs — three per country — compete in a shortened course as a tiebreaker, where the team with the lowest time and fewest faults takes gold. Obstacles are normally around six feet high, and any faults — which can be incurred when a rail is touched or knocked down, or the horse refuses a jump — add to a team’s total time.

Sweden edged out a win by just 1.3 seconds. It is their first gold medal in the event since 1924. 

Springsteen competed on her 12-year-old Belgian Warmblood stallion, Don Juan van de Donkhoeve. 

“You’re just focused on what you’re doing, what the horse is feeling,” Springsteen told CBS News in 2019. “And you’re really just in sync and kind of in the zone.”

She said of showjumping, “You have to be confident. You have to be comfortable.”

Her teammate Laura Kraut became the oldest female Olympian to medal, at age 55, since 1904, when 58-year-old Emily Woodruff, won gold in archery. Kraut has a previous gold medal from the team jumping event at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. In Tokyo, her equine partner was Baloutinue, an 11 year-old Hanoverian gelding, who is one of the younger horses in the event. Of the three riders, she is the only one who rode a completely clear round in the jump-off. She is currently ranked 24th in the world. 

Their third teammate, Mclain Ward, is a mainstay of the international equestrian community. After his Olympic debut in 2004 at the age of 28, he competed in 2006 and won team gold in 2008 along with Kraut. In 2017 he was ranked first in the world, and he is currently ranked 10th. In Tokyo, he rode a 12-year-old German sport horse gelding named Contagious.

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games - Day Fifteen
McLain Ward of the USA aboard Contagious during the Jumping Team Final Saturday at the Equestrian Park in Japan.  Mike Egerton/PA Images via Getty Images

Equestrian events are among the only sports in the Olympics in which men and women compete against one another. “I think it’s great,” Springsteen told told CBS News in 2019. “You see a lot of the top riders are women and men. It’s so equal. And it’s amazing. And it’s always such a surprise to people.”  

Their coach, Robert Ridland, told USEF of the competition, “It just became magical… They were amazing and we pushed them to the limit and that’s what has made us proud.”