Meet Bruce Springsteen's Equestrian Daughter Jessica, Who's Competing at the Olympics

Move over, Bruce, Jessica's about to steal the family spotlight at the Tokyo Games.

Her father may have been born to run, but Jessica Springsteen is her own kind of boss. Jessica, who calls legendary musician Bruce Springsteen "dad," will make her Olympics debut in Tokyo this month as a member of the US Equestrian Team. You've probably heard of her famous father, but you may not know that Jessica has been working on her Olympic dream for more than two decades. Here's what you need to know about the 29-year-old athlete. (Related: 4 Olympians Share Their Biggest Tips for Achieving Fitness Goals)

How It Started

The only daughter of Bruce and his singer-songwriter wife, Patti Scialfa, Jessica was born on December 30, 1991 in Los Angeles, miles away from her parents' home state of New Jersey. The couple had previously located to the West Coast as they began to expand their family, which also includes sons Evan, 30, and Sam, 27. Shortly after welcoming their (future-Olympian) daughter, the Springsteens returned to the Garden State in the early 1990s, settling down in Colts Neck, New Jersey.

Jessica began to ride horses at around 4 or 5 years old at Stone Hill Farm, her family's 300-acre property in Colts Neck, according to CNN. "I started riding when I was really little. My mom had always wanted to ride so when we moved to New Jersey she started taking lessons," Jessica explained in an interview with People. "Our home is right across the road from one of the top junior training barns — and I went right into that when I was a teenager." From there, she started competing and ultimately turned professional — a process that, as she told People, "happened pretty naturally."

Jessica is said to ride every day and has even competed in the wintertime, according to People. Over the years, she's also dedicated time to her studies, graduating from Duke University in 2014 with a degree in psychology.

How It's Going

Jessica is currently ranked 27th in the world in show jumping, one of the three disciplines performed at the Olympics, which also includes dressage and eventing. Jumping involves a horse leaping, with both animal and athlete jumping over the hurdles "in perfect partnership," according to the International Olympic Committee. In other words, as the US Equestrian Federation puts it, jumping is the equestrian version of track and field's pole vaulting, high jump, and hurdles.

Jessica-Springsteen-At-the-Olympics-GettyImages-1046960014-1231176533
Getty Images

Prior to the Tokyo Games, Jessica, then 21, was listed as an alternate for the 2012 Games in Londonbut did not qualify four years later for the 2016 team that competed in Rio de Janeiro. This time around, however, she's one of four athletes representing Team USA in equestrian jumping at the 2021 Olympics. Other team members include two-time gold medalist McLain Ward, 45, silver medalist Kent Farrington, 40, and three-time Olympian and gold medalist Laura Kraut, 55. ICYMI, Jessica is the youngest in the group, and, TBH, that's pretty darn impressive. (Related: Team USA's First-Ever Olympic Climber Is Ready to Take On Tokyo).

With the first jumping event slated for August 3, Jessica will compete with her 12-year-old stallion, Don Juan van de Donkoeve, whom she described as "everything [she] would want in a championship horse," during a July 2021 interview on NBC's Today.

"We have so much trust in our relationship, and he is so powerful, and he kind of does everything so effortlessly," she explained. "I can really rely on him."

In addition to Don Juan, Jessica had previously ridden a horse named Hungry Heart (yes, just like her dad's famous hit).

What Jessica's Famous Parents Are Saying

Bruce and Scialfa are used to playing in front of sold-out stadiums and having legions of adoring fans. But when it comes to daughter Jessica, they're her biggest cheerleaders.

"They were so excited," the Olympic athlete told Today. "They've supported me since I was little. This has been a huge dream of mine ever since I can remember, and the sport has become such a passion for them as well. I feel like we've been on this journey together, so they were just so happy."

Scialfa also publicly congratulated Jessica in early July 2021 with a sweet Instagram post. "U.S. equestrian team for Tokyo Olympics ...- my sweet girl -happy for you ..❤️❤️🐴," she wrote in the caption alongside a shot of her daughter mid-ride.

Between the soccer sister act of Sam and Kristie Mewis and the return of the greatest gymnast of all time, Simone Biles, Jessica will certainly be in good company as she reps Team USA at the Tokyo Games.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles