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Jessica Springsteen misses equestrian individual final by one spot, awaits team competition

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Jessica Springsteen did not qualify for the equestrian individual jumping final at the Tokyo Olympics nor did her Team USA teammates. They will return to competition this weekend for the team jumping competition. 

Springsteen, the daughter of Bruce Springsteen and Patti Scialfa, is ranked 14th in the world in show jumping. She made her Olympic debut with horse Don Juan van de Donkhoeve, a 12-year-old Belgian Warmblood stallion owned by Stone Hill Farm where the Springsteen family lives in New Jersey.

The duo completed a beautiful run through the 17-jump course, but one bar fell down on a late jump. They had four jump penalties and finished in 87.15 (there are 89 seconds allowed) that initially tied for 24th with 24 riders left to go behind them. By the end they completed qualification tied for 31st, slightly out of contention. 

The best 30 riders, including those tied for 30th, as well as their trusty horses advance to the individual final (Wednesday, 6 a.m. ET). There were 73 competitors and 30 cleared every obstacle on Tuesday, though five had time penalties. 

Team USA misses individual contention 

Springsteen is the youngest competitor of the four-person USA delegation. McLain Ward, 45, was a back-to-back Olympic team jumping gold medalist in 2004 and 2008. He was named the reserve athlete ahead of the event. 

Laura Kraut, 55, was also on the Beijing team. Her eight jump penalties in a time of 85.23 placed her out of contention. Kent Farrington, 40, won team jumping silver at Rio alongside Ward. Farrington tied Springsteen with four jump penalties in a time of 88.57. 

The U.S. has medaled in team jumping in six of the last nine Olympic Games. The team jumping event is Saturday at 6 a.m. ET.

Springsteen's quest for an Olympics 

Jessica Springsteen.
Jessica Springsteen of Team United States riding Don Juan Van De Donkhoeve begins his leap for Jessica Springsteen at the Tokyo Olympics. (Julian Finney/Getty Images)

It was a long trip to Tokyo for both Springsteen and Don Juan van de Donkhoeve. Springsteen, 29, has long been one of the country's top competitors in show jumping and has represented the U.S. several times at the FEI Nations Cup. The Duke graduate was named an alternate for Team USA at the 2012 London Games at the age of 20, but was not in the running for the 2016 Rio Olympics team because of an ongoing injury to her horse's leg. 

In 2019, she teamed up with Don Juan and they helped the U.S. win the FEI Jumping Nations Cup USA the following year. The duo placed third together at the Rolex Grand Prix of Rome in May and took an individual victory in France in June, some of Springsteen's best international results. She said this week her partnership with Don Juan "has really solidified over the past year" and she feels more prepared than she might have if the Olympics went on in 2020.

Riders commonly continue competing into their 40s and 50s, so there are many more opportunities for Springsteen to compete at an Olympic Games. 

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