rbpl-090816The Red Bank Public Library hosts 1956 Olympic racewalker Elliott Denman, seen at left below with George Sheehan Jr. in 2014. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

denman sheehan 061414During the relatively brief time that Red Bank Public Library has been hosting its regular monthly series of “Author Talks,” attendees have been been given the opportunity to meet a fairly eclectic collection of scribes expounding on an equally eclectic range of topics — the subjects of books that the guest speakers have been more than happy to summarize, sign, and sell.

When the series resumes on Wednesday evening, however, it will represent a slight deviation from the norm, as the visiting writer — veteran sports journalist and former Olympian Elliott Denman — will lead an in-depth discussion of someone else’s book.

The book in question is Inside The Five Ring Circus: Changing Global Sports and the Modern Olympics, the 2012 nonfiction volume by Ollan Cassell that details “the changing face of global sports and the modern Olympic Games.”

It’s a field of inquiry that Cassell — himself a gold-medal Olympian, and for years a key figure in the administration of Olympic-level sports both here and abroad — knows well, as he makes the case that “the major problems now facing the International Olympic Committee and the Olympic Games… power politics, high finance, drugs, and eligibility… challenge the Games on every level and had their roots in the events of the 1960s, and onward.”

It’s also a topic that falls well within the wheelhouse of Denman, who competed in the 50k (31-mile) racewalking event at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics — and who went on to cover 14 Olympiads over the course of a 35-year journalism career, both as a staffer with the Asbury Park Press, and more recently as a freelance correspondent and blogger.

A resident of West Long Branch, Denman will illuminate his examination of Cassell’s book with personal recollections and insights from his own experiences as athlete and observer, including his eyewitness take on the recently completed XXXI Olympiad in Rio de Janeiro.

There’s no charge to attend the 7 p.m. event on Wednesday, and no reservation necessary.