'Nailympics' Highlight Artistic Fingernails

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As the winter games continue in Sochi, the 'Nailympics' recently concluded in Rome, where nail artists show off their creativity. Ranging from Alice in Wonderland fantasy themes to old-fashioned manicures, the claws were out...and on display. (Feb. 11)

SHOTLIST:

AP TELEVISION - AP CLIENTS ONLY

Rome - February 11, 2014

1. Mid - elaborately-decorated zodiac characters on fingernails

2. Mid - woman having zodiac characters put on fingernails

3. Close - elaborately-decorated zodiac characters on fingernails

4. SOUNDBITE (Italian) Cristina Bea, Fantasy nail competitor (transcript below)

5. Mid - Cristina Bea adjusting Christmas decor on model's hand

6. Close - model's Christmas-themed hands

7. Wide - model with Christmas-themed hands walking

8. Wide - model having Alice in Wonderland theme put on her hands

9. Mid - model having Alice in Wonderland theme put on her hands

10. Close - designer putting Alice in Wonderland them on model's hands

11. Close - nails with garden theme

12. Close - "stiletto" nails

13. Close - restaurant theme on nails

14. Mid - wine harvest decor on model's nails

15. Close - wine harvest decor on model's nails

16. Mid - Italian Fantasy nail competitor Lorena Amici showing off designs

17. Wide - Cristina Bea and model winning at Nailympics

18. Mid - manicured hands in the air

19. Wide - models walking around chairs in auditorium

20. Mid - models' hands before being judged

21. Mid - judges scoring hands

22. Mid - judges scoring hands

23. Close - models' manicured hands

24. SOUNDBITE (Japanese) Yumi Nagashima, a juror from Japan (transcript below)

25. Wide - Lysa Comfort walking around competitors

26. SOUNDBITE (English) Lysa Comfort, Nailympics founder (transcript below)

27. Mid - competitor doing nails

28. Close - competitor doing nails

29. Close - face of model as she's getting her nails done

30. Mid - hands being judged

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VOICE-OVER SCRIPT:

PROBABLY NOT THE MOST PRAGMATIC MANICURE....

...BUT CONTESTANTS AT THE 2014 'NAILYMPICS' IN ROME AREN'T WORRIED ABOUT PRAGMATISM - THEY'RE TRYING TO CLAW THEIR WAY TO A FIRST-PLACE NAIL FINISH.

(SOT: Cristina Bea, Fantasy nail competitor):

"I tried the Nailympics last year and I won them. This year I'm trying to make it to the podium again, but it will be hard, because I've seen beautiful work."

CHRISTMAS CAME EARLY FOR BEA, WHO INCLUDED LED LIGHTS AND MUSIC IN HER 2014 ENTRY.

ARTISTS AT THIS COMPETITION ALLOW THEIR IMAGINATIONS TO RUN WILD....WITH THEMES RANGING FROM ALICE IN WONDERLAND, TO GARDENS, TO STILLETTOS...EVEN A RESTAURANT SCENE.

LORENA AMICI DESIGNED A WINE HARVEST ON HER NAIL CANVAS THIS YEAR.

(Nat sound of Lorena Amici, Fantasy nail competitor)

SHE SAYS THAT EACH PIECE TAKES MONTHS OF WORK.

BUT DESPITE THE OUTLANDISH CREATIVITY IN THE FANTASY DIVISION, CLASSIC GELS ARE STILL IN THE MAJORITY HERE.

COMPETING IN A NAIL-BITINGLY TENSE ATMOSPHERE, HUNDREDS OF PERFECTLY SQUARE-TIPPED FINGERNAILS GO UNDER A BLACK CURTAIN, WHERE JUDGES EXAMINE THEM FOR LENGTH, LINE, AND DECOR.

(SOT: Yumi Nagashima, a juror from Japan):

"I like the nails to be very clean and beautiful, I check for detail. My job is to give them points, one to ten, based on how well they follow the rules."

ACCORDING TO THE NAILYMPICS FOUNDER, THE EVENT IS REFLECTING A QUICKLY-EXPANDING MARKET.

(SOT: Lysa Comfort, Nailympics Founder):

"Just in the US alone, we had a thirty-two percent growth in sales of nail polish. This means that the consumer is now starting to really take nails into consideration, for their fashion accessory."

AT THIS YEAR'S NAILYMPICS, 235 ENTRANTS BATTLED IT OUT IN SIX DIFFERENT CATEGORIES... HOPING THEIR HANDS WOULD CATCH THE EYES OF POTENTIAL SPONSORS.

JILL CRAIG/Associated Press

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