The Las Vegas outpost of Madame Tussauds won't be winning the yellow jersey in its race against the news cycle this month. On Wednesday, it announced a special appearance by Lance Armstrong's wax figure, less than a week after the cycling superstar dropped his fight against the United States Anti-Doping Agency, presumably in the face of overwhelming evidence. The New York Times reported that the agency claimed to have 10 eye witnesses in its case against the seven-time Tour de France champion.
According to spokeswoman Eleni Stylianou, the figure is on loan from another Madame Tussauds, and the attraction hasn't received any negative feedback about it. The fact that it came from another location makes me wonder if they aren't trying to hide it here for a couple of months until the scandal dies down. The statue is here until Oct. 14, and will be here on Armstrong's birthday, Sept. 18, should you wish to pay your respects. It should be noted, however, that Armstrong is not turning 40 this year, as the press release says. He turned 40 last year, when the Madame Tussauds in Los Angeles hosted a big celebration.
Armstrong won't be the first figure at Madame Tussauds with a checkered reputation. Michael Jackson has more than a dozen wax figures at Madame Tussauds around the world, and he settled a civil suit involving allegations of sexual abuse. Despite the tawdry allegations, his is one of the best-loved figures in the world. Tussaud made death masks during the French Revolution and modelled murderers and notorious criminals after she relocated to London. Perhaps disgraced athletes can join Tussauds "Chamber of Horrors" in a special Chamber of Dopers wing.
Steroids aside, Armstrong still has his fans. And many people admire his Livestrong advocacy and gritty comeback from stage three metastatic cancer. This seems to be the angle Madame Tussauds is taking. Oct. 2 is Livestrong Day, and the first 100 visitors get a free bracelet. That sure beats the used syringe and hormonal side effects they would have gotten on Doping Day. Sometimes it's just better to think of the good times.