Nailing it! Olympians show off fancy fingers and toes

Combining OPI's Only Gold for Me and Bring on the Bling, Natalie Coughlin layered the two tones over her fingernails so they'd really pop under stadium lights.

The ladies of the London Olympics have shown both their love for glamour and their country by rocking some serious nail art.

Swimmer Natalie Coughlin took matters into her own hands — literally. “I don’t like to wear makeup when I swim. It’s a distraction,” she told So instead, she expressed herself through her DIY mani. “I’m the designated team manicurist. I did these myself.”

Swimmer Lia Neal, who won bronze in the 4x100-meter freestyle race, showed off her medal — and her patriotic nails — for photographer Neil Leifer on the TODAY set. 

Neil Leifer

One accent nail on each of Lia Neal's hands features white stars against blue.

Her teammate, silver medalist Elizabeth Beisel, also posed for Leifer, sporting a sparkly set of blue glitter to accent her silver medal. She kept just one nail on each hand painted a bright red.

Neil Leifer

Elizabeth Beisel flaunts her medal and sparkly manicure after earning silver at the 400-meter individual medley.

The swim team aren't the only ones sporting decorated digits. Tennis star Venus Williams went for the colors of the American flag, accenting one nail with stars. Passion for flashing a fancy mani runs in the family: Sister Serena has been licensed to give manicures.

Jewel Samad / AFP - Getty Images

U.S. tennis player Venus Williams sports an ornate homage to her home country on her fingertips.

U.S. water polo player Heather Petri has a tradition: with every major championship, including the Olympic games, she has her nails done by the same manicurist. “She usually does an American flag,” she told Petri’s team has never won a gold (they've previously brought home two silvers and a bronze), so she decided change was necessary. “We have not won the gold yet. And so when they did it this time I said don’t do a flag, do something different. So she decided to do hearts in red, white, and blue." 

Silver medalist Heather Petri added a gold heart to her pedicure.

At several P&G salons, sprinkled around London and set up by the Olympic sponsor to service visitors looking to celebrate their home countries, demand is high: They're doing 150 nail treatments a day. “We are expecting to deliver 25,000 treatments by the end of the games,” P&G spokesperson Catherine McMahon told According to McMahon, the U.S. flag is currently leading in popularity for nail art, followed by Great Britain, Canada and Australia. “The most difficult designs to do are the ones based on the Bhutan and U.S. Virgin Island flags,” she said.  


For athletes, function is as important as design. Amanda Furrer, one of the shooters of the Olympic team, tweeted a photo of her nails, which feature the words “Team USA” and tiny American flags on the tips. She wrote, “I told my friend Kristen at Touch of Class Nails, ‘Make sure to shorten those two nails so I can pick up my bullets.’”

@Amanda_Furrer / Twitter

Shooter Amanda Furrer revealed her Olympic nail art in a tweet.

Suhaib Salem / Reuters

Whether for good luck or to revel in a past win, Olympic athletes are sporting some serious tattoos. Check out the athletes who put their Olympic art on display.

Read more:
4 nail art ideas to show your Olympic team spirit
Very superstitious: Olympians woo Lady Luck with rituals
Why (some) Olympic athletes still embrace the scrunchie
Olympians flash their bling while going for gold

Discuss this post

Proverbs 21:31 should work for the equistrians too ~

  • 1 vote
Reply#1 - Sat Aug 4, 2012 2:14 AM EDT

Too true...

  • 1 vote
#1.1 - Sat Aug 4, 2012 1:14 PM EDT
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