Olympic athletes appear more patriotic than ever if their fingernails are anything to go by, flaunting elaborate nail art of their national flags in a beauty trend sweeping the 2012 games.
Medal winners like Becky Adlington and Ryta Meilutyte have been snapped on the podium flashing colorfully patriotic nails.
At a pop-up salon set up by sponsor P&G in the Olympic Village, nail technicians are tackling up to 40 sets of nails a day as athletes catch on to the trend.
P&G’s head of grooming says the nails have been a surprise success at the salon.
“They’re all popular but the nail one seems to be amazing doesn’t it? That’s the one that’s really taken off and I think that’s because athletes really want to express their love of their country and it's the best way of doing it,” said Kathryn Davies as she got her nails painted.
She said Britain’s Union flag and the U.S. Stars and Stripes have been battling it out as the most-asked for designs.
“Well the first week the Union Jack absolutely won hands down, I mean we’re in Britain so that’s no surprise, so we did a lovely lot of Union Jacks, and the second week much to our surprise the USA took over, so I’m not sure whether that’s just because the USA are a particularly bubbly and vivacious nation who particularly wanted to show their love of their country, or whether it’s because it’s a big team,” she said.
Nail technician Pebbles Aikens said she was excited to see her nail designs on television each night as athletes she’d worked on won medals.
“Obviously, we can’t mention any names but we’ve seen them before they’ve actually come in to do the event which has been fantastic,” she said.
Irish 400 meter relay runner Claire Bergin is sporting the Irish flag and Olympic rings on her nails. She says athletes often try to beat each other in ways to stand out during competitions.
“It seems to be that way. Everyone’s trying their best. Last year at the World Championships in Daegu, they had temporary tattoos so we got green shamrocks on our tummies last year for when we were competing, and also our nails done as well. It’s another way to pass the time I guess as well when you’re waiting around to compete,” she said.
Antigua and Barbuda 400 meter runner Afia Charles said the trend had become so popular that she had to wait days for an appointment.
“Yeah I had to book, I booked five days before. It was everybody, it was a lot of people so I had to wait five days to get it done,” she said.