Britain's 'Olympic Games of fake nails' can prove to be a real nail-biting competition sometimes! For the last six years, Nailympics is when nail artists and manicurists from around the world gather to showcase their skills in various categories.
Some 354 competitors from 24 countries participated in the 2010 Nailympics, where world's top manicurists battle it out for medals in gruelling events such as 'fibreglass tip and overlay', 'gel sculpture' and 'fantasy nail art'.
'"This is one of the most important competitions in the world. You come to demonstrate your skill and show what your country can offer," the Daily Mail quoted Carmelina Gandolfo, 32, from the Italian team, as saying as she summed up the sense of occasion.
"There is rivalry because everyone thinks he is the king. It's normal. People don't speak to each other before the event and there a lot of nerves. But afterwards, we are friends and talk," she added.
The 'fantasy nail art' category-which involves glueing artificial acrylic pieces onto natural nails and then painting them or even imbedding them with tiny gems or trinkets-is an undoubted crowd-pleaser at the Nailympics.
In comparison, most of the other disciplines, while undoubtedly also requiring great skill and artistic flair, are not particularly enthralling as spectator sports.
In the 'mixed media' event, artists paint a set of ten nails so it looks like a continuous scene across them. They are prepared before the competition and displayed in a box rather than on a model.
The artists work with an array of liquids, powders and paints, which fill the air with pungent chemical aromas (some competitors even wear paper masks over their mouths and noses).
They compete not just against each other but also against strict time limits.ailympics is gaining in popularity all the time, and this year was part of the Olympia Beauty Show at London's Earls Court, which attracted 30,000 visitors.
Countries that dominate the world nail stage, are Japan, Korea, China, Russia, the U.S. and Hungary.