US Women win World Gymnastics title in Tokyo
The U.S. finished with an overall total of 179.411 while Russia was well behind with 175.329. Defending Olympic champion China took the bronze over Romania with a score of 172.820.
Besides the injuries in Japan to Sacramone and Li, the U.S. had lost its 2010 all-around champion Rebecca Bross to a broken kneecap at nationals in August and one of its top hopes on uneven bars, Mackenzie Caquatto, to a sprained ankle during the final training camp before worlds.
Team coordinator Martha Karolyi had also raised eyebrows by choosing to send four-time 2008 Olympic medalist Shawn Johnson and her Beijing teammate Bridget Sloan to the secondary international meet at the Pan Am Games in Mexico later in the month.
"I was hoping for gold but I could not be 100% sure because there were so many newcomers," Karolyi said afterward. "These girls were standing up very confident, very powerful out there."
Indeed the U.S. hit all 32 routines during preliminaries and the team finals and also earned Sacramone a record 10th world championship medal even though she was in Massachusetts. Because Sacramone was an official member of the six-woman team, she got a medal without setting foot on an apparatus.