Each iteration of the Olympic Games serves as a global spotlight for athletes who have spent their lives becoming the best in a chosen sport. In Tokyo next month, however, it will be doctors, nurses, lab technicians and thousands of other medical personnel who will determine the success of this international display of health and vigor.

Despite increasing vaccinations against COVID-19, host nation Japan lags well behind many rich-world peers. If the Tokyo Olympics were to be canceled in the final weeks before the July 23 opening ceremony — an increasingly unlikely prospect — the decision would have to be taken by the International Olympic Committee, following a growing band of medical professionals warning of the dangers.

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