When Chuck and Jamie Gerardo had absorbed all the gymnastics knowledge they felt the Northern Virginia area had to offer, they left their Springfield home for Albuquerque, N.M.

Chuck and Jamie, then 14 and 16 years old, respectively, moved in with a gymnast's family and attended the Gold Cup Gymnastics Club.

Chuck, now a freshman at Stanford, recently finished second in the all-around in a meet against the Japanese junior national team and, in his most recent college meet, achieved a personal-best all-around score of 55.05.

The Gerardos hope to gain places on the U.S. Gymnastics Federation's senior national team this spring.

While in high school in 1983, both were members of the U.S. junior national team.

Chuck considers the pommel horse his best event, although it is is one the toughest to master.

"As long as Chuck has a positive attitude, he can be an excellent gymnast," said Stanford Coach Sadao Hamada. "I was very impressed with his potential. "I will be happy if he finishes in the top 36 (in the qualifying for the senior national team) as a freshmen."

Fred Roethlisberger, Jamie's coach at the University of Minnesota, said he believes Jamie, a sophomore, will be one of the Golden Gophers' main performers.

"Jamie is tremendously talented and intelligent," said Roethlisberger. "In meets, he is highly motivated. I think he can perform at Chuck's level."

"When I was younger, I would get so intense before meets. I'm not as tense as I used to be," said Chuck. "Jamie has never been as tense as me.

"We both have the same goals, though," he added. "We both want to make the national team and, of course, the Olympic team."

Chuck and Jamie have a special bond because of their stay in New Mexico. They were not only brothers, but best friends and teammates.

"Because we lived with each other, it helped a lot," said Chuck. "When there was a problem, he was always on my side. Gymnastics has definitely created a bond between us."

In spite of the the distance between Stanford and Minnesota, the brothers remain in close touch. They keep up with each other's achievements and constantly encourage one another.

"I really miss him," Jamie said of Chuck. "We really helped each other out because that was all we had (in New Mexico). Sometimes, we did compete for the same position, but whoever won, won."