Jessica Springsteen competes for Olympic glory – WWD

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Win or lose in Tokyo, the family legacy goes hand in hand with the Olympians as they strive to excel like never before.

Unlike most of the 11,000-plus gold-chasing athletes, Jessica Springsteen’s personal history is often presented before her equestrian triumphs. Such reverse presentations are routine since her father Bruce won 20 Grammy Awards, an Oscar, two Golden Globe Awards and a Tony. His mother, Patti Scialfa Springsteen, knows the different sides of world fame, having first joined her E Street Band in 1984 and married Springsteen seven years later.

Like any athlete who fights against the best riders in the world, Springsteen is focused on the competition underway and the years of hard work that have been required to earn a place on the world stage. Tracing his family tree almost seems to undermine this accomplishment. But given that his father’s “Born in the USA” album has sold over 30 million copies, how can we not highlight this slice of Americana?

With that provenance cleared, Springsteen’s engagement came out loud in an interview last week. With the equestrian competition starting today, Springsteen enters the Games ranked 14th in the world for show jumping. She started riding when she was three or four years old, after the family moved to a farm in New Jersey. Her mother had always wanted to ride a horse, so she started taking lessons and soon her daughter wanted to too. “Pretty dedicated from day one,” the Olympian said she never wanted to miss a lesson and immediately fell in love with the sport.

Luckily, her childhood home was located right across from one of the best junior training facilities, Beacon Hill Show Stables, where she first took lessons and trained until the age 18. “It kind of happened very naturally,” Springsteen said.

While the eternal Olympic dream was the one she envisioned when she was young and hoped to someday achieve, Springsteen explained, “In our sport, it’s all about timing. You have to be in your best shape at the right time, but you also have to establish a very strong partnership with a really talented horse at the right time. So it doesn’t always stick. But when I had Don[Juan], with whom I go to the Olympics, I really felt that he had all the talent in the world. It all seemed so easy and effortless to him. That’s when I thought I might have a real chance.

After majoring in psychology at Duke University, Springsteen became “really competitive,” trying to set goals and plan backwards for it. Instead of the nearly a year stretch that it usually takes to form a good, strong partnership with a horse, Springsteen said that she and her horse “clicked instantly”, built on it and became really strong. “He’s everything I would want in a horse before the Games,” Springsteen said.

At 29, she is significantly younger than her Olympic show jumping teammates: McClain Ward, 45; Laura Kraut, 55, and Kent Farrington, 40. Men and women compete together in equestrian sports, which consist of dressage, show jumping and eventing.

The jump requires the athletes and their horses to complete a course with 12 to 15 knockable obstacles. They receive penalties for each obstacle knocked down or refused, as well as penalties for exceeding the allotted time according to the qualifying events. The Olympic ground for show jumping competitions begins with 75 competitors. The individual final is open to the 30 best placed combinations of the individual qualification.

As for the scariest aspects of training or competing, Springsteen said there is really nothing scary about it. “Of course we work with animals and every sport has an element of danger, but when you step in the ring you don’t want to feel fear. We think, “How do we clean these fences? »We don’t think about what could go wrong where you could hurt yourself, especially with him [Don Juan]. I never have any doubts about it. He’s so reliable and he’s so trustworthy. It allows me to really focus on our work. They can sense your nerves, your butterflies, and all kinds of fear. So you want to make sure that there is a lot of trust between you so that you don’t express those feelings to them, ”Springsteen said.

Like any competitor in horseback riding, Springsteen and his horse needed passports. Horses need passports not only for travel, but also to identify individual horses for competition and to ensure that all health and veterinary certificates are up to date. With 26 gold medals in equestrian sports, Germany is the leading Olympic power in the sport, thanks in large part to Michael Jung, who won eventing gold at the London Games in 2012 and in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.

Driving six days a week every week of the year with no real offseason, Springsteen said, “We are constantly working together. Normally it’s fair [a matter of] work on the apartment, get them [the horse] really flexible and feeling good about their body. When a big competition comes up, you skip a few jumps at home and maybe work on some of your weak spots or things that you think need to be improved.

Overall, things are very consistent and it is imperative to keep a routine, she said. This year, she focused on the laser to be part of the Olympic team. Normally, however, Springsteen competes almost every week of the year, usually Thursday through Sunday. Back home Monday through Wednesday whole days were spent in the stable riding a bit more, getting the horses ready and maybe going for a walk in the woods, taking them to the track or trying different things with them. .

Now that she is “getting older,” she tries to cover her body as much as possible to protect herself from the sun, as they train under her all day. Anything long sleeved will do and jodhpurs are another must. The competition calls for the classic breeches, the show shirt and the hunting coat or the show coat. Used to traveling every weekend for competition, Springsteen favors anything that’s super easy to fold and slip into any space in a suitcase. Wrap dresses, especially those in super thin silk from Realization Par, flowy skirts and Grlfrnd jeans that can be paired with any tank top or other simple tops are some of her must-have looks. Several years ago, she was brand ambassador for Gucci and Ralph Lauren.

His parents certainly know the arcs and tenors of life on the road. When asked if they had offered any advice in this department, Springsteen responded enthusiastically, “Yes, that was something that was really great for me growing up to see them balance the journey and [being] house too. They’ve been around the world and they’ve done it all. It was great for me to see that. I try to follow my mom’s packing advice. She says to pack your outfits before you pack your bags, so when you get there, you’ve got it. You don’t have to think about it. You can just put it on. It’s something that I definitely started doing as I got older. I’m trying to pack as light as possible now and plan for everything. They gave me a lot of advice on travel and how to balance it all out.

His father and mother also know how to be in the public eye and on the international scene. (They have already performed in front of an audience of 160,000 people in Berlin in the summer of 1988. Although mass crowds are not a factor at the Summer Games due to security restrictions related to COVID-19, the world fame is blatant.) When asked if they offered any advice, Springsteen spoke of emulation rather than leadership. Growing up, she and her two brothers, Evan and Sam, recognized their parents’ work ethic and dedication to a passion they had, which allowed them to apply it to their own lives. “As far as my driving is concerned, I have always felt very focused in the ring. This is something I love the most about it. When you are in the ring and the bell is ringing, you are completely focused on yourself and your connection with your horse. Everything that happens outside is really fading away. This is one of my favorite things about it.

As to whether going to the Olympics has a greater resonance, given the hardships so many have faced over the past year due to the pandemic and his father’s reputation for writing hymns on the American dream and people’s daily struggles, Springsteen said, “Absolutely. Represent my country, especially alongside riders that I have admired all my life. McLean, Kent, Laura are all amazing riders with so much experience. They are able to concentrate so much under pressure. To be selected for a team next to them is just a huge honor. Representing my country has always been something I am very proud of. To do it now at the Olympic level is truly a huge honor for me. It means so much to me.

As her father’s podcast with former President Barack Obama on race, American identity, social justice and other topics evolved into a book “Renegades: Born in the USA” due out of Crown as of October, Springsteen is a Black Lives Matter supporter, as his 273,000 Instagram followers know. Asked about the responsibility of athletes as public figures to speak out on social issues, she said: “We must always work and strive for diversity in our sport and in everything we do. These days, we all need to use our voices and speak out about things that are important to us. This is what I hope to do.


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