The International Olympic Committee’s vice-president John Coates delivered the most definitive statement on Tokyo 2020 since it was postponed by one year in March. “With or without Covid,” he declared. “Now very much these will be the Games that conquered Covid, the light at the end of the tunnel.” Coates’ statement comes as the world stands on the precipice. Fatigue has clearly set in, no longer just fears surrounding the actual virus, but the restrictions we have all endured for months. For many, returning to our normal lives is now the number one priority. Scientists and researchers will spend years, maybe even decades studying not only the impact this virus had on the global population, but the unprecedented social experiment that accompanied it: a mass populace told to stay at home, work remotely, limit movement and try to wait out the pandemic. The lives lost and the economic damage will linger and we may simply never return to the global financial state of 2019, but as always, life needs to find a way to move on. Hong Kong officials declared the city as having “anti-epidemic fatigue” , and the lacklustre numbers of the mass testing programme back up the qualitative statement with quantitative data. Most Hongkongers agree the virus has also impacted their job , and in turn their livelihood and mental well-being. Hong Kong sailors left high and dry as Covid-19 threatens Olympic hopes Local businesses, from food and drink to the boutique fitness industry, say the restrictions imposed have essentially bankrupted a large majority of them , and the government’s relief packages have done little more than put a Band-Aid on a bullet wound. The reality has become glaringly clear and Coates’ statement rings true on many levels: we need to get back to our normal lives, too many people are too close to breaking points, and when we rejoice at things as simple as eating out at a restaurant with more than one friend as a groundbreaking development, we know it is time to push forward rather than recoil. Many pundits have labelled Coates’ comments as reckless, as the IOC trying to salvage the Games and its name during an unprecedented time. There is no denying the IOC is not the organisation it once was, a body plagued by multiple scandals , one seen as playing favourites and politics. This does not discount the validity of what Coates is trying to achieve with his declarative statement: it’s time we hit back at the virus for the sake of humanity moving forward. Most professional sporting leagues, from the National Basketball Association to the English Premier League, have returned to action, albeit without fans. We have case studies on how to run events, how to make proper bubbles, and what to do when we encounter outbreaks. We know enough about this virus to make informed decisions on where to draw the line, and how we can go about working around it, instead of simply pulling the plug on everything for the foreseeable future. Hong Kong show jumper Raena Leung on holding out for Tokyo 2020 We need to hit a critical mass where we start pushing back against all these event cancellations. We can’t stop our lives forever. Nobody ever said trying to return to normal was going to be easy, quick or error free, but we have to begin this process. If anyone can pull off a scaled down, heavily monitored, tight as a drum Olympics, it is the Japanese. Let us not forget the perfect spectacle that was the 2019 Rugby World Cup. The country has recent experience hosting a large scale event, and more than enough experience handling the virus itself. With less than 1,400 deaths and a population of more than 126 million, they have done remarkably well at containing Covid-19. They will also surely have some form of a vaccine at their disposal in a year’s time. Japan’s organisational, logistical and operational skills are second to none, and citizens will surely see it as their civic duty to do their part as well. If you were to pick a country to host the first major sporting event post-pandemic, many would point to Japan. Coates was surely shooting from his hip with his comment, and in some respects it could come across as audacious and brash. However there is a mental war we now need to start fighting when it comes to the coronavirus, a declarative statement from humanity that we will push on. Tokyo 2020, the first Olympics to be postponed, going off in 2021, despite 2020 and all it threw at us, does have a nifty little uplifting ring to it.