Laura Kraut, Jessica Springsteen and McLain Ward pose at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 on Aug. 7, 2021 in Tokyo.
If Bruce Springsteen ever wanted to write a song about a showdown at the Olympic Games, he could now after watching the U.S. equestrian jumping team - including daughter Jessica - battle it out for the top spot on the podium on Saturday.
The final came down to a team jump-off between the U.S. and Sweden. Springsteen, Laura Kraut, McLain Ward and their horses all navigated the course cleanly in the hunt for gold, as did Sweden, but Sweden finished just 1.3 seconds faster to take the top spot. The U.S. won silver, matching the team result that Ward helped win at the Olympic Games Rio 2016.
Kraut, 55 and competing in her second Games after debuting in 2008 and winning gold in the team event, started things off in the final on her horse, Baloutinue, and had four penalties.
Springsteen and Don Juan van de Donkhoeve followed with another four penalties.
“I was disappointed to have the four faults, I kind of took for granted a little bit, I wasn't really expecting that to be one of my challenges,” Springsteen said. “So I'm disappointed in that regard but, I thought my horse jumped the rest of the course absolutely beautifully and, I was just thinking of that left-hand turn there I want it to be neat on my time so, I think that's why I had it down but all in all, he was amazing this entire week so, I'm so happy (with) him.”
After Ward and Contagious also incurred four penalties, the U.S. and Sweden were tied and France was in the lead, but the final rider’s horse knocked bars off the third jump and wouldn’t try again. Belgium won the bronze medal.
That put the U.S. and Sweden in the jump-off. The last time the two countries ended up in that situation was at the 2018 World Equestrian Games, which the U.S. won.
Kraut said the final course was tougher than Friday’s qualifier, which saw the U.S. finish fifth with 13 penalties.
“Definitely the jumps were bigger,” she said. “The distances were hard, and it's the stamina. It's long, we had two doubles, and a triple. You had the water, several planks that all you have to do is breathe on them (to knock them down). And then this last vertical is gigantic. He's (the Tokyo 2020 showjumping course designer) an amazing course builder, and he knew he had the 10 best teams, and he needed to build.”
Kraut, Springsteen and Kent Farrington all competed in the individual event but none qualified for the final. Springsteen was the highest finisher in a tie for 31st.
Want to follow Team USA athletes during the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020? Visit TeamUSA.org/Tokyo2020 to view the medal table, results and competition schedule.