US still going for medal despite losing Sacramone

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TOKYO (AP) -- The Americans' goal at the world gymnastics championships hasn't changed, even if their lineup has.

Despite losing Beijing Olympic captain Alicia Sacramone to a torn Achilles tendon, the Americans insist they can still contend for a medal -- preferably an upgrade from last year's silver.

USA Gymnastics president Steve Penny says they "are very much a threat at this event."

The top eight teams at worlds earn spots at next summer's London Olympics. The U.S., defending champion Russia and China begin competition with qualifying on Saturday.

Romania leads early qualifying despite a shaky session that included mistakes on three events by all-around contender Ana Porgras. Australia is second.