Americans qualify for team show jumping final behind dominant Swedes

Jessica Springsteen of The United States of America competing on Jumping Individual Qualifier during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Equestrian Park on August 3, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. (Getty Images)

The Swedes will be the ones to beat heading into the team show jumping final at Baji Koen Equestrian Park.

All three riders, including newly minted back-to-back individual silver medalist Peder Fredricson, jumped clean under the 82-second time limit in qualifying. They were the only team of 19 to have zero faults across all three riders.

The top 10 teams advanced to the final round, and the U.S. finished fifth overall with 13 penalties.

Laura Kraut kicked things off for the Americans with a forward ride aboard Baloutinue, knocking the top rail of a liverpool for four penalties and finishing with a time of 80.78 seconds.

Jessica Springsteen was the second American to ride, and she and Don Juan van de Donkhoeve had a beautiful start before the Belgian Warmblood stallion grazed a pole with his front hoof for another four penalties.

McLain Ward, who already holds two golds and one silver in team show jumping, served as anchor for the American team but downed the front rail of the Japanese hairbow jump and had one time penalty.

Due to the new Olympic show jumping format, Ward didn't ride in the individual show jumping competition, and countryman Kent Farrington, who didn't make it out of the individual qualifier, isn't riding in the team competition.

"There has been incredible team spirit internally," U.S. Chef d'Equipe Robert Ridland said in a press release. "All the decisions have been made jointly and McLain coming in fresh for the team has always been the plan."

Previously, all four riders on a team would jump, and the worst score would be dropped. Now, three—and only three—riders will go for each team, and every score counts.

Besides Sweden and the U.S., eight other teams will ride in the final on August 7, including European powerhouses Belgium, Germany and Switzerland.