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Jessica Springsteen talks, but not about her dad, after Olympic equestrian debut

Jessica Springsteen approached the reporters lining a partition inside an interview area and glanced at the voice recorders piled onto three brown plastic trays in front of her.

“Wow,” she said.

If you can’t start a fire without a spark, as her father famously sang, then maybe the horde of media who came to see show jumping’s biggest last name in the Tokyo Olympics could ignite interest in a sport often confined to the privileged.

It would certainly help if the daughter of musicians Bruce Springsteen and Patti Scialfa could talk about more than her horse.

As reporters waited to speak with Jessica Springsteen on Tuesday night, they were warned not to ask about her family. Reporters who promised to ask about her performance in the individual jumping qualifier at Equestrian Park were identified, and theirs were the only questions taken before a media manager from U.S. Equestrian halted the interview after 1 minute and 26 seconds.

That nearly equaled the amount of time Springsteen lasted in her Olympic debut. She finished in an 11-way tie for 31st place, needing to finish 30th or higher to advance to the individual final. Her 12-year-old horse, Don Juan van de Donkhoeve, toppled a few bars toward the end of a routine he finished in 87.15 seconds on an uncharacteristically cool, breezy night.

At the time she spoke with reporters, Springsteen was clinging to hopes that she might advance, having been in 24th place with 24 riders left to compete. She praised her horse and said any faults in the routine were hers alone.

“My horse jumped unbelievable,” said Springsteen, 29, who was born in Los Angeles but splits most of her time between a home in Florida and European competitions. “I really couldn’t be happier with him.”

Having been eliminated from her first competition on this stage, the youngest member of the United States’ show jumping team will next compete on Friday alongside more seasoned counterparts Kent Farrington, 40, Laura Kraut, 55, and McLain Ward, 45. Farrington and Kraut were also eliminated in the individual competition Tuesday, and Ward did not compete.

Springsteen wasn't a year old when Kraut made her Olympic debut in 1992 in Barcelona. Two decades later, Springsteen accompanied the U.S. team to the London Olympics in 2012 but did not compete. She did not qualify for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in 2016, making her appearance here even more meaningful.

“Just to be selected to this team with riders that I’ve looked up to throughout my career is a huge honor for me, and it’s great to be here,” Springsteen, ranked No. 14 in the world, said during a pre-race media conference in which reporters were once again requested not to ask about her family.

Springsteen first sat on a pony when she was 4 and had her own pony by 6, taking up show jumping after her family moved from California to New Jersey. She has said riding horses has given her confidence, and told CNN in 2019 that her father found watching her ride “really relaxing.”

Her parents were presumably watching from afar Tuesday, with Bruce’s Broadway show on hiatus until Aug. 17. A middle child, Jessica once contributed to one of her father’s songs, joining older brother Evan and younger brother Samuel in providing background vocals on “Down in the Hole.” She studied psychology at Duke, earning her undergraduate degree in 2014, before making show jumping a full-time endeavor.

Jessica secured her Olympics invitation after helping the U.S. take first place at the Nations Cup Wellington in March and finishing third at the Rolex Grand Prix of Rome in May.

She’s bonded with the horse she’s ridden for nearly two years, saying he’ll whinny every time she walks into the barn.

“He’s a stallion, but he’s a really kind horse,” Springsteen said. “He’s super brave, he’s so talented, he does everything so easy, and he really gives me a lot of confidence when I’m going in the ring because I know him like the back of my hand now and he’s so reliable, so that gives me a really good feeling for my first experience at a championship.”

Show jumping can be the domain of the rich and famous, with the daughters of Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Michael Bloomberg and Tom Selleck also among the elite competitors. Reporters seeking Springsteen’s thoughts on whether her sport should be more inclusive would have to wait.

There was no time for answers, thoughtful or otherwise. Springsteen walked away after taking five questions, leaving her inquisitors dancing in the dark.

https://www.latimes.com/sports/olympics/story/2021-08-03/jessica-springsteen-father-bruce-tokyo-olympics-equestrian

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Seems a lot of work to get all those horses over to Tokyo, weeks in advance, all the stable hands, riders, brushes (for the shiny coats) for them to ride around for 80 seconds, hit a fence then go home. 

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2 minutes ago, Elbow said:

Seems a lot of work to get all those horses over to Tokyo, weeks in advance, all the stable hands, riders, brushes (for the shiny coats) for them to ride around for 80 seconds, hit a fence then go home. 

Granted, I haven't watched much of the Olympics - today's the only morning I've had it on - but I never heard anything about the USA team after the dressage.

I obviously haven't been paying attention ... too busy binge-watching ER.

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1 hour ago, gsquare said:

 

Show jumping can be the domain of the rich and famous, with the daughters of Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Micheal Bloomberg…

With such colleagues, I really hope for Jessica the discourse never turns on her father’s official website… ;)

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58 minutes ago, Elbow said:

Seems a lot of work to get all those horses over to Tokyo, weeks in advance, all the stable hands, riders, brushes (for the shiny coats) for them to ride around for 80 seconds, hit a fence then go home. 

What should she have done instead? Chasing wild ‘orses there? ;)

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9 hours ago, Daisey Jeep said:

Noisy sigh :angry:

Screenshot_20210804-150237.png

People will see that headline and think she fell off.

3 hours ago, Eileen said:

Granted, I haven't watched much of the Olympics - today's the only morning I've had it on - but I never heard anything about the USA team after the dressage.

I obviously haven't been paying attention ... too busy binge-watching ER.

The coverage on the BBC website has been disproportionately UK biased.  Barely anyone else gets a mention.   They seem to have lost sight of the possibility that some readers might be interested in who else won medals. 

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1 hour ago, Rizla said:

People will see that headline and think she fell off.

The coverage on the BBC website has been disproportionately UK biased.  Barely anyone else gets a mention.   They seem to have lost sight of the possibility that some readers might be interested in who else won medals. 

A HS classmate is doing broadcasting for the Olympic Broadcasting Service (he started in '84 ;)), and described the process of commentating (most is done from a central studio, so they frequently get caught out by off-screen action and have to adjust) as well as putting together the "packages" for the 200 different countries that have purchased TV. The commercialization of the whole endeavor has changed the experience from my youth, for sure.

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We used to have wall-to-wall coverage here in the UK, which was always stable viewing in our household every 4 years....but now they are only allowed to show two sports at a time on the BBC. Neigh obvious reason why, probably didn't spend enough money.

I was going about with a long face until I discovered it's all on the Discovery+ app on Sky (if you have it). I watched Jessica live on there. Pity she had a bit of a mare.

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24 minutes ago, Elbow said:

We used to have wall-to-wall coverage here in the UK, which was always stable viewing in our household every 4 years....but now they are only allowed to show two sports at a time on the BBC. Neigh obvious reason why, probably didn't spend enough money.

I was going about with a long face until I discovered it's all on the Discovery+ app on Sky (if you have it). I watched Jessica live on there. Pity she had a bit of a mare.

The principal rights were sold to Discovery and the BBC now has to 'sub let' from them. I think Discovery outbid the BBC for the rights. There has been much complaint about the restraint this has put on the BBC coverage, but no doubt there would also have been complaints if they had spent the sum necessary to acquire the full rights.

 

Or at least that's my understanding of the position. 

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8 hours ago, Rizla said:

People will see that headline and think she fell off.

The coverage on the BBC website has been disproportionately UK biased.  Barely anyone else gets a mention.   They seem to have lost sight of the possibility that some readers might be interested in who else won medals. 

And isnt that about the olympic spirit

Celebrating the pinnacle of someone's career often regardless of where they come from 

Tell me about it !

It seems way too much of the coverage on tvnz is the bbc :angry:

And for sports i can only think of one thing worse

Watching NZ play cricket aganist  Australia with all Aussie commentators 

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5 hours ago, Born To Walk said:

The principal rights were sold to Discovery and the BBC now has to 'sub let' from them. I think Discovery outbid the BBC for the rights. There has been much complaint about the restraint this has put on the BBC coverage, but no doubt there would also have been complaints if they had spent the sum necessary to acquire the full rights.

 

Or at least that's my understanding of the position. 

Well ok i dont know if its the bbc on tvnz

But its bbc type sounding commentators 

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On 7/6/2021 at 8:32 PM, el sergio said:

List of all jumping horses from Belgian breeders participating in Tokio for the Olympics:

Australia - Edwina Tops-Alexander - Identity Vitseroel (breeded by Michel Vanderhasselt)

Belgium - Niels Bruynseels - Delux van T&L (breeded by T&L NV)
Yves Vanderhasselt - Jeunesse (breeded by De Manekam CVBA) - reserve

Germany - Christian Kukuk - Mumbai (breeded by Kurt De Clercq)
Daniel Deusser - Killer Queen VDM (breeded by Dirk-Ann BruggemanCarpentier)

France - Simon Delestre - Berlux Z (breeded by Laveco NV)

Ireland  Shane Sweetnam - Karlin van ‘t Vennehof (breeded by Jos Voeten) - reserve

Mexico - Eugenio Garza Perez - Armani SL Z (breeded by  Thierry Hendrikx)
Manuel Gonzalez Dufrasne - Hortensia van de Leeuwerk (breeded by  Ronald Joosen)

Spain - Eduardo Alvarez Aznar - Legend (breeded by Jonas Boone)

UK - Scott Brash - Hello Jefferson (breeded by Bernard Mols) Harry Charles - Romeo 88  breeded by Picobello Horses)

USA - Jessica Springsteen - Don Juan van de Donkhoeve (breeded by Gustaaf Quintelier)
Kent Farrington - Gazelle (breeded by Werner Heuninckx-Van Hoornyck)

Sweden - Malin Baryard-Johnsson - Indiana (breeded by W. Vanderlinden-Van TurtelboomRuys)
Henrik von Eckermann - King Edward (breeded by Wim Impens)

My horse is from Belgium. She won’t make it to the olympics but she’s the best at jumping in the stable

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10 minutes ago, Mumford said:

My horse is from Belgium. She won’t make it to the olympics but she’s the best at jumping in the stable

Patti goes to the Dublin Horse show most years to buy horses. Bruce sometimes shows up.

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I know this thread is about Jessica’s participation in the olympics

But… there were three Swedes in the top 5 and I just want to point that out.

That said, it was a joy to see Jessica ride and she did a great job. Can’t wait to see how the team competition goes for her. 

(If the individual competition had been a team competition we would already have Swedish gold, but I guess we’ll just have to wait until Saturday;))

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“He’s a stallion, but he’s a really kind horse,” Springsteen said. “He’s super brave, he’s so talented, he does everything so easy, and he really gives me a lot of confidence when I’m going in the ring because I know him like the back of my hand now and he’s so reliable, so that gives me a really good feeling for my first experience at a championship.”

A fan speaking. 

“He’s a stallion, but he’s a really kind man that Springsteen “He’s super brave, he’s so talented, he does everything so easy, and he really gives me a lot of confidence when I’m going out into the real world  because I know him like the back of my hand now and he’s so reliable, he gave me a really good feeling for my first experience in the pit I felt I won a championship.”

 

 

I get me coat.:unsure:

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45 minutes ago, catfish said:

“He’s a stallion, but he’s a really kind horse,” Springsteen said. “He’s super brave, he’s so talented, he does everything so easy, and he really gives me a lot of confidence when I’m going in the ring because I know him like the back of my hand now and he’s so reliable, so that gives me a really good feeling for my first experience at a championship.”

A fan speaking. 

“He’s a stallion, but he’s a really kind man that Springsteen “He’s super brave, he’s so talented, he does everything so easy, and he really gives me a lot of confidence when I’m going out into the real world  because I know him like the back of my hand now and he’s so reliable, he gave me a really good feeling for my first experience in the pit I felt I won a championship.”

 

 

I get me coat.:unsure:

I think @gus would enjoy reading that :)

I did :)

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Today was just the vet inspection before tomorrow's team first round. I haven't found any reports online yet as to whether there were any issues. Meanwhile, I did find this article about the first inspection, with pictures. Essentially it's a back and forth in front of the committee of vets to see if they spot anything that calls into question the soundness of the horse to compete. Just a walk and a trot is needed - trot gait shows up leg issues really quickly ;) For eventing they did one inspection before the dressage phase, and a second after cross-country but before the show jumping. For show jumping, one before individual, and one before team. Some competitors really dress for the occasion - both themselves AND their horses, especially braids in the mane :) 

https://www.worldofshowjumping.com/Olympic-Games/Photo-special-Colourful-horse-inspection-kicks-off-Olympic-action-for-the-jumpers.html

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19 minutes ago, CmonMrTrouble said:

I am grateful to have @JimCT insight on what is happening, I really don't know much about this world

Also appreciate the "perspective" of our other horse expert @Elbow

Yes, without a doubt. We are all Springsteen fans, but are not all Horse fans. Also financial wizard fans, but Jim provides all!    

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1 hour ago, CmonMrTrouble said:

I am grateful to have @JimCT insight on what is happening, I really don't know much about this world

Also appreciate the "perspective" of our other horse expert @Elbow

To be fair I'm hoofing it.

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