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Swimming prodigy Ye meets her wax likeness

Updated: 2014-04-01 22:12
By Deng Zhangyu ( chinadaily.com.cn)

Just after China's swimming prodigy Ye Shiwen turned 18 in March, she received a gift from Madame Tussauds Beijing - the unveiling of a wax figure of the winner of two gold medals at the London Olympics.

Madame Tussauds Beijing, to be opened by the end of May, unveiled the figure on March 29 at a swimming school in Beijing. The sculpture recreates the moment when Ye accepted her gold medal at the 2012 Olympics, holding the red-star national flag over her head.

"It's the same me. The only difference is I'm not that fat now," said Ye Shiwen, who couldn't resist taking a selfie with her wax likeness.

The clothes Ye's wax figure wears are what Ye wore at the London Olympics. The color of the figure's hair is "amazingly the same as mine," Ye said.

"Because I have to spend so much time in the swimming pool, the color of my hair is light. And hers is totally the same," she said.

The process of creating the wax figure, from taking photos and collecting digital information on Ye to implanting the hair and coloring the figure, took about half a year to complete, said Wang Rui, director of Madame Tussauds Beijing.

Wang said they decided to make a figure of Ye because she won two Olympic golds at the age of 16 and is the first Chinese swimming grand slam champion.

"At such a young age, Ye has contributed a lot to the sport of swimming in China. She is a good example to inspire children who have a dream to be a champion," Wang said. Her words were echoed by young boys at the swimming school, who could be heard loudly saying, "Ye, you're my hero" and "Ye's great!"

Wang said the wax museum in Beijing will have more wax figures of people who have been highly successful in their fields in order to represent the spirit of the Chinese dream.

The figures that have been already been unveiled include China's godfather of rock and roll Cui Jian, and Hollywood stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Johnny Depp.

Ye's wax figure will be placed in a sports celebrity zone together with those of Yao Ming, David Beckham and Kobe Bryant.

There will be less than 100 wax figures in Madame Tussauds Beijing when it opens in Beijing's Qianmen Street, one of the oldest shopping streets in the capital.

Madame Tussauds Beijing is the fourth wax museum in China after Hongkong, Shanghai and Wuhan.