On October 2, 2009, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) made a very interesting decision that on many levels reflects the current shift in the international system. The choices: Chicago, Tokyo, Rio de Janeiro and Madrid. Why, with the security of Chicago or Tokyo, did the IOC choose Rio? My answer is that the IOC sees the value in the developing world and powerful statement of bringing Rio (and Brazil as a whole) into the Olympic family.

Many have tried to detract from this move with base arguments about emotion and issues between the U.S. and the IOC. While these arguments are true and have some merit, it is obvious most of those making them never read the Rio bid. Believe it or not, I actually did. A few weeks ago, I found it online and went through pretty much the whole thing. And it’s good. It takes advantage of the beautiful setting, previous infrastructure development and forces Rio to confront such major issues as crime and inequality.

Hosting the Games won’t by any means solve all, or even most, of Rio’s and Brazil’s problems, but the Olympics have aided societies in transition. This move by the IOC shows that many in the international system are willing to take a few risks and begin sharing and entrusting responsibility to the up-and-comers. It has always been said that responsibilities shared makes the load that much lighter.

Hopefully other international organizations will follow the IOC’s lead and begin to share spoils with new members. In many ways this decision is very counterintuitive since the IOC has been known as being wealthy, white and male and European dominated. Maybe if they can change, the rest of us can too?

Call me cheesy but I truly feel that the Olympics can bring out the best in all of us, even if only for 16 days every four years. Hopefully this latest decision by the IOC highlights that fact and reminds the rest of us that the world is changing and maybe we need to change along with it. If the IOC sees the benefits in Brazil, then maybe sport really does imitate life.

Written by Dan Logue