12 Best K-dramas About Sports and Athletes | TheReviewGeek Recommends

12 Best K-dramas About Sports and Athletes

The South Korean Film & TV Industry has managed to explore every genre possible and can boast of diverse titles, including sports-related dramas. You do not have to be a sports fan to enjoy these dramas and experience the thrill of high-stakes athletic competitions and tournaments, the rise and the fall of top-ranking athletes, the gripping narratives of the old-fashioned rivalry and heartwarming romance plots.

The best K-drama revolving around sports dives deep into the relationships, dreams, and lives of athletes through exploring gruelling practice sessions and life-altering obstacles, from almost giving up to highlighting the characters’ determination and resilience to rise from underdogs, setbacks, to personal triumphs. Here are 12 of the best sports K-drama about sports and athletes to add to your watch list.


Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo (2016)

This is one of the most watched sports-related K-drama that follows the story of Kim Bok-joo (Lee Sung-kyung), a weightlifter dedicated to pursuing her dream of becoming a gold medallist. However, she finds love for the first time in talented swimmer Jung Joon-hyung (Nam Joo-hyuk).

Although Bok-joo trains in the masculine field of heavy steel weights, she struggles with her self-image, often feeling secure about her appearance. On the other hand, Joon-hyung is full of self-confidence and possesses a carefree and playful demeanour. They develop a close friendship, which slowly develops into romantic feelings.

The pair help each other through their athletic journey, including the pressures of being student-athletes, competitions, and demanding training procedures.


Fight For My Way (2017)

The series revolves around two friends, Ko Dong-man (Park Seo-joon) and Choi Ae-ra (Kim Ji-won), as they struggle to go for their dreams despite the lack of appropriate support and background.

Dong-man had a dream to become a famous taekwondo player, but a traumatic incident caused him to give up on his dream. However, his passion for martial arts does not waver, and he is determined to make a comeback for the UFC title.

He starts participating in amateur fighting competitions, and his impressive performances land him an opportunity to participate in professional fights. The series showcases the struggles and triumphs of people determined to pursue their dreams and passions regardless of the setbacks. 


Twenty-Five Twenty-One (2022)

The South Korean financial crisis brings with it misfortunes for both Na Hee-do (Kim Tae-ri) and Back Yi-jin (Nam Joo-hyuk). Hee-do’s high school fencing team is disbanded while Yi-jin’s family business goes bankrupt, which leads to profound life changes threatening their dreams.

Yi-jin is hardworking and determined to rebuild his life while Hee-do perseveres through the hurdles threatening her dreams until she manages to join the national fencing team. The story explores their personal growth and their challenges together to achieve their dreams.


My Lovely Boxer (2023)

My Lovely Boser is the latest K-drama that introduces us to the world of boxing. The series follows Lee Kwon Sook (Kim So Hye ) who is struggling to put her boxing days behind her. Even though she is still young and is arguably the best boxer of her generation, Kwon-sook quit because of the emotional trauma she went through while training with her dad.

However, she meets Kim Tae Young, (Lee Sang Yeob) an ambitious, money-oriented sports agent. He promises to help her find freedom from the sport but it is not as easy as it may sound. There are huge risks to be taken and through the 12 episodes, viewers find themselves championing Kwon-sook’s happy ending.


racket boys

Racket Boys (2021)

The plot focuses on a group of young badminton players and their journey through the world of competitive badminton tournaments. Yoon Hae-kang (Tang Joon-Sang) was a competitive badminton player, but he lost his passion for the sport due to personal reasons. His father (Kim Sang-kyung) gets a new job as a coach of a boys’ badminton team at Haenam Seo Middle School, and they have to relocate.

The drama explores the young badminton players’ growth and development as a team and as friends through training together, competing in tournaments, and facing various setbacks and challenges both on the court and off the court.


Love All Play (2022)

Just like Racket Boys, the series revolves around badminton players. It tells the story of Park Tae-yang (Park Ju-hyun), a talented badminton player who had to stop playing the game for three years following a scandal.

Once back in the field, she signs with team Yunis and goes back to playing the sport she is passionate about. On the other hand, Park Tae-joon (Chae Jong-hyeop) ends up interacting with the badminton world due to his father’s business. He views badminton as merely a job until he meets Tae-yang. In the quest to win her heart, his passion for the game is ignited when they are teamed up for the mixed doubles for team Yunis.


Mental Coach Jegal (2022)

An unprecedented scandalous incident costs Jegal Gil (Jung Woo) the opportunity to join the national taekwondo team. Years later, Jegal Gill returns to the sports arena after overcoming his past trauma as a mental health coach.

Among the athletes he coaches is Cha Ga-eul (Lee Yoo-mi), a short-track speed skater struggling with a downturn in her career due to self-doubt. Although she is known as the “Ice-Princess” due to her cold personality and ferocity in the ring, she falls into a slump, unable to confide in anyone until Jegal Gil becomes her mentor. 


Blue Winter  (2022)

This short Korean BL series spanning 5 episodes was released in March 2022. The series introduces us to Ji Seok,  Do-jin and Hyeon-woo, who first met at a high school Judo competition. Hyeon-woo wins the match and Do-jin and Ji-seok start getting curious about him. 

Do-jin transfers to Hyeon-woo’s school and joins the same judo club. The two become close as  Hyeon-woo and Ji-seok start a romantic relationship. Six years later, Do-jin crosses paths with the two in their third year of college. The relationship between Hyeon-woo and Ji-seok is crumbling and Do-jin wonders if he has a chance with Hyeon-woo.


Prison Playbook (2017) 

Kim Je-hyeok (Park Hae-soo) is a talented baseball player imprisoned for an unfortunate incident. He is reunited with a childhood friend and a former baseball player, Lee Joon-ho (Jung Kyoung-ho), who is working as an officer in the prison. The series follows Je-hyeok as he adapts to his life in prison, makes new friendships, and continues to train with hopes of continuing his baseball career after he serves his time. 


Short (2018)

The drama tells the story of Kang Ho-young (Kang Yae-oh) and Park Eun-ho (Yeo Hoi-heon), who are short-track speed skaters. Eun-ho is known as “the king of short speed skating” among his peers at Kangbaek University, but he is currently struggling due to a slump. He is also from a prestigious sports family.

On the other hand, Ho-young is from the countryside and is scouted to join Kangbaek University’s short-track speed skating team. Rivalry and competitiveness in sports and romance initially describe their relationship, but it later turns into a great friendship. 


Hot Stove League (2019)

The baseball team Dream is a struggling professional team ranking at the bottom of the baseball league. Baek Seung-soo (Namkoong Min) is appointed as the team’s new general manager to help steer the team to the championships. He works closely with the team’s operations manager, Lee Se-young (Park Eun-bin), who is highly passionate about the team and recognized for her perseverance.

Seung-soo is determined and works relentlessly to improve the team in collaboration with a vast group of passionate individuals, and together, they revamp training strategies, scouting techniques, and tactics to transform the team into championship contenders. 


Thumping Spike (2016)

This underrated gem follows the story of an underdog volleyball team at Daehan High School in their aspirations and struggles to reach the top. The volleyball goddess Kang Se-ra (Hwang Seung-eon) is forced to take up coaching for the Daehan High School volleyball team to avoid a possible lawsuit. She meets the school’s star player, Hwang Jae-woong (Song Jae-rim), and the constant initial disagreements between them do not make her life easier.

However, through their love for the sport, they work together to turn the team around and, in the process, develop a stronger bond of teamwork, friendship, and thumping romance. 


And there we have it, our list of the best sports K-drama of all time!

What do you think of our list? Have we included your favourites? Or have we missed any must-watch dramas? We love to hear from you so do feel free to let us know in the comments below.


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