By Steve Keating
LIMA (Reuters) – Eve Jobs contributed to a United States bronze in team show jumping at the Pan Am Games and narrowly missed out on another in the individual event on Friday, putting the youngest daughter of Apple founder Steve Jobs in the Olympic conversation.
Representing the U.S. in an international competition for the first time, the 21-year-old took a small step towards easing out of the huge shadow cast by her late father with a confident, controlled performance.
She has a long way to go to establish her name in her own right, however, if Friday is any evidence to go by.
Brazil’s Marlon Zanotelli won gold, Argentina’s Jose Larocca the silver and U.S. veteran Breezie Madden the bronze but the biggest media scrum was around fifth-placed Jobs.
To the disappointment of many in the media pack, though, Jobs does not talk about her father.
It is a rule followed by two other up-and-coming young riders she often competes against, Jennifer Gates, daughter of Microsoft founder Bill Gates and Jessica Springsteen, daughter of rocker Bruce Springsteen.
All three, according to those working in the tight knit equestrian community, are driven to walk their own path and be recognised for their own accomplishments.
No questions about Steve Jobs are the ground rules going into any interview, including those conducted in the Pan Am Games mixed zone.
Such transgressions, however, will be harder to deflect if Jobs lives up to the greatness predicted for her.
Competing in a sport where careers can span decades, Jobs now has her sights on fighting for a spot on the 2020 Olympic team.
Madden, who has participated in four Olympics for the U.S. winning four medals including team gold in 2004, believes Jobs and her mount Venue d’Fees des Hazalles are already Olympic calibre.
“I thought she (Jobs) handled it (Pan Ams) outstandingly as she has in every competition this year,” Madden told Reuters.
“I think she has jumped double clear in every team competition she has been in this year for us, and I think that says a lot for her level-headedness and ability to concentrate and produce under pressure.
“This was difficult today and she is right in there with the top people.”
Like many athletes uncomfortable with anything encroaching on their private lives, Jobs talked about the technical details or her performance and heaped praise on others — in this case her team mates and her horse.
“I’ve had her for two years now and she has taken me to a new level in the sport,” said Jobs. “I owe her everything.
“She just gives me so much confidence I am so proud of the partnership we have. It is an honour to represent my country always and we had a great team.
“This is my first time at a team championship and that comes with pressure and I think just getting to jump here and jump for my country with team mates, I have learned so much.”
(Editing by Nick Mulvenney)