The floor exercise in gymnastics isn't just about tumbling passes and athletic skill.
"You have to be entertaining," Bellingham district gymnastics coach Doriane Gunnels said in a phone interview. "You have to not only entertain the crowd, but the judges. Sometimes you see these routines that are just boring, and that will cost you. You need to be out there and do all the required moves with a giant smile on your face and engage everyone with your personality."
Very few do that any better than Squalicum junior Madi Krussow.
"You watch her routine, and you just want to watch," Gunnels said. "She seems like she is having so much fun, because she is. When you watch her, you want to get up there and try it, because she makes it look so easy and so fun."
Krussow will get a chance to showcase her brand of fun in the floor exercise at the Class 1A/2A/3A State Gymnastics Championships on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 15-16, at the Tacoma Dome.
Krussow will be joined at state by Sehome's Zoe Bunnell on the balance beam and bars and Bellingham's Ellie Kindlund on the bars.
Krussow also will be competing on the bars and the vault, but it's on the floor where Gunnels said she really shines.
"She has a double salto tumbling pass and basically all the requirements," Gunnels said. "She's a flipper. She's a turner. She's a sticker. You have to have all the skills and be able to do them well to have a chance."
And make no doubt about it, Gunnels believes Krussow definitely has a chance.
She placed eighth at a much tougher district meet than usual last week with a score of 9.2.
"She's got all the skills, and she knows how to finish," Gunnels said. "I'm hoping for a high 9 at state. I know she's capable of it. She just needs to make it about that one routine."
Not that Krussow doesn't have skills in her other two events.
Just as Krussow is able to make the floor look easy, she does the same on the bars.
"Bars is a tough event, because you've got gravity working against you," Gunnels said. "She seems to defy gravity. She makes it look easy. Me being an ex-gymnast, I can tell you it's not easy, but she has tamed the art of the bars and made it look effortless."
Think she makes that look effortless? Just wait until you see her flying through the air off the vault, Gunnels said.
Of course Krussow is used to flying through the air, as she placed sixth in the pole vault at the Class 2A State Track and Field Championships last spring.
"She flies," Gunnels said. "Her speed is the basis for it all. She takes the same speed into the vault that she takes into the pole vault. She takes that speed into the board, and she has such core strength that she pops. We call it popping, but she more than pops. She just flies. It's awesome to see."
Krussow came to the team as a level 7 gymnast, Gunnels said, and has taken those skills and shined this year, winning the all-around at the Sehome Invitational and the Wesco meet earlier this winter.
In fact, it was only a couple of slips on the beam last week that kept Krussow from competing on all four apparatus this weekend.
But that, according to Gunnels, could be a benefit.
"The beam is the most frustrating," Gunnels said. "You have the most stress on the beam. It's probably good that she's not competing in that this year. She has high confidence in all her abilities and all her skills, and because of that, it lessons her stress."
And with less stress, Krussow is free to enjoy herself and entertain her audience.
Reach David Rasbach at firstname.lastname@example.org or 360-715-2286.
CLASS 1A/2A/3A STATE GYMNASTICS CHAMPIONSHIPS
Individual rotations: 1:15 p.m. Friday, Feb. 15
Individual finals: 11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 16
Site: Tacoma Dome
Reach DAVID RASBACH at email@example.com or call 715-2271.