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6 Sports Romance K-Dramas to Fall in Love With

Romance stories in K-dramas take on many forms, from boss-employee relationships like Business Proposal to star-crossed love in fantasy. But fans also get hooked on a romance K-drama centered on the tension-filled world of sports and being the best. A few classic sports romance K-dramas and more than a few new ones in 2022 have gotten praise.
Actors Park Ju-hyun and Chae Jong-hyeop in sports romance K-drama ‘Love All Play’ | via KBS
‘Love All Play’ focuses on the world of badminton and two elite players
The 2022 sports romance K-drama, Love All Play didn’t receive high cable ratings but became a favorite among fans. Its storyline takes place in the cutthroat world of badminton. Park Tae-yang (Park Ju-hyun) had it all regarding her sports career and was on track to being a promising athlete. But she is forced to leave it all behind due to an accident. Years later, she returns to the sport.
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Love All Play also focuses on Park Tae-joon (Chae Jong-hyeop). He, too, is a badminton athlete, but only because of his parent’s equipment company. Due to how he came to join the sport, he sees it more like a job than a passion. He soon joins a new team and meets Tae-yang. His growing feelings for her ignite a love for the sport.
Love All Play is available to stream on Apple TV+.
‘Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-joo’ is a sports romance K-drama classic every fan loves
Regarding classic fan-favorite K-dramas, Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-joo is almost always on the list. The 2016 drama is a coming-of-age story centered around two characters in college. But fans will be happy to learn real-life Olympic gold medalist Jang Mi-ra inspired the storyline.
Kim Bok-joo (Lee Sung-kyung) is vibrant, funny, and confident as she pursues her dream of going to the Olympics as a pro weightlifter while attending an athletic college. But living her entire life in the sport, she is unsure how to deal with her heart when she develops a crush on Jung Joon-hyung’s (Nam hoo-Hyuk) older brother.
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Joon-hyung is a gifted swimmer and decides to help Bok-joo gain the attributes needed to attract his older brother. But along the way, he realizes his own feelings.
Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-joo is available on Viki.
‘Twenty-Five Twenty-One’ focuses on a fencing prodigy and her first battle with love
It is no surprise that Twenty-Five Twenty-One lands a spot on the list. While fans title it a coming-of-age romance story, it is also a sports romance K-drama. It is because of two central characters, their careers, and how it influences the story. Beginning in 1998, Na Hee-do (Kim Tae-ri) is a fencing prodigy, and when the IMF Crisis hits, it gives her the chance to join a new team.
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Hee-do joins not just any team but that of her idol and gold-medalist Ko Yu-rim (Bona). Hee-do gets a chance to continue her passion, which her mother is not keen on. Meanwhile, she meets Baek Yi-jin (Nam Joo-hyuk), whose family goes bankrupt in the crisis. He ventures on his own to rebuild his life and find a career. When he meets Hee-do, they begin a friendship that shapes their younger years.
Twenty-Five Twenty-One is available on Netflix.
‘Mental Coach Jegal’ is a sports K-drama with a hint of romance
One of the newer K-dramas from September 2022 is Mental Coach Jegal. The drama stars All of Us Are Dead and Squid Game actor Lee Yoo-mi as Cha Ga-eul. She is joined by Mad for You actor Jung Woo as Gil Je-gal. The sports K-drama tells the story of athletes who get stuck in a rut and lose their spark.
Je-gal was once a member of South Korea’s national Taekwondo team. Due to a scandal, he is permanently banned and hesitant to return to the sports world. But he dices to return as a “mental coach” to help athletes who fall into a slump. His work leads him to Ga-eul, a short-track speed skater who dreams of the Winter Olympics.
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But Je-gal’s plans to help his athlete are not easy as people from his past get in his way. Mental Coach Jegal has a romance storyline for Ga-eul that fans can look forward to.
Mental Coach Jegal is available on Viki.
‘Cheer Up’ takes fans into the world of a college cheer team and love
The 2022 K-drama, Cheer Up is tagged as a romantic comedy with a bit of mystery but can be considered in the sports genre. Instead of fencing, weightlifting, and Olympic sports, the K-drama focuses on a cheer squad. Set in 2019, Do Hae-yi (Han Ji-hyun) comes from a poor background and just started college. She soon joins Theia Cheerleading Squad to make money.
Park Jung-woo (Bae In-hyuk) leads the team and is a model student who puts a great priority on the squad. Cheer Up also focuses on Jin Sun-ho (Kim Hyun-jin), a medical student who begins to experience new things after meeting Hae-yi. Fans follow Hae-yi as she begins to understand and enjoy her college years.
Cheer Up is available on Viki.
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