How are women gymnasts performing with long nails?

Is it difficult; does this make it harder? I saw Suni Lee with much longer nails, for example in this article

a female-appearing gymnast on horizontal bar, with both hands and feet used in the midst of a performance


I'm not someone who competes with long nails, so my answer is based on what I've seen.

It's not uncommon to see women with long nails in sports like gymnastics, tennis, athletics, etc. They don't really use the very tip of their fingers, and so there's no interference from long finger nails. In gymnastics for example, they either use their hands wide open or hold on to the bars. In neither cases longer finger nails hinder the movements. The bars are thick enough that when they grab their fingers don't make it back all the way to the palm. I guess a miscue could cause break of the nails, but you probably got more things to worry about if you land of flip that badly.

Same thing with tennis players and pole vaulters, what they hold onto is thick enough that their finger nails wouldn't make it all the back back to their hands.

But also note that these are not contact sports where long nails could cause break, but importantly result in injuring opponents or teammates. In those cases you may not even be allowed to compete with long nails.

  • A specific example of your last paragraph, INF rules of netball, rule 5.1.1 iv (c) states Fingernails must be short and smooth, while 5.2 i (c) requires match officials to check this before the match.
    – Nij
    Jul 30 at 4:50

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