Remember during the summer Olympics when it became a "thing" for athletes and fans to sport their national pride on their nails? It was, for the most part, adorable. But when you actually give nail art its own competition, the result can be far from cute, if not downright frightening. Thanks to The Associated Press, we have a behind-the-scenes look at something called the Nail Olympics, which takes place this week in Rome. The competition is, perhaps shockingly, in its 12th year, having started in Las Vegas in 2001. A jury of eight people from Japan, the U.S., Korea, Italy, Sweden, and the Czech Republic hold the fate of the 220 competitors in their hands. Out of this uniquely talented group, only a few will emerge victorious within the seven specialties, including the "stiletto" category, which features painted nails shaved down to impossibly sharp points that would make Freddy Krueger squeal. Still intrigued? Read on (if you dare):
The wicked witch stiletto: A model shows off her talons painted in a green ombré, which helps them achieve that unique skin-crawling style. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
Under the sea: A competitor attaches one of the final touches to her masterpiece that appears to include all of Ariel's friends as well as half of PetSmart's aquarium offerings. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
Accessories of a geisha: A model shows off a Japanese-inspired look created by competitor Carmen Gamero from Spain. Not only is the model wearing a geisha-like costume, but each of her nails is also home to a freestanding plastic figurine. Let's hope the poor woman doesn't have to use the restroom. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
Psychedelic: Another stiletto competitor puts the finishing touches on these two-inch rave-party beauties. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Syrian women know how to defeat ISIS
- Will Kobani be ISIS's Waterloo?
- The U.S. Marines are developing laser weapons. Here's why.
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- The one thing the New Atheists get right about religion
- 3 horrific inaccuracies in Homeland's depiction of Islamabad
- 10 things you need to know today: October 21, 2014
- Why the Supreme Court is allowing Texas to hold an unconstitutional election
- Gamergate has backfired spectacularly on its nincompoop perpetrators
Subscribe to the Week