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Olympic gold medalist Jang Mi-ran inspires sports drama

I still have hopes that someone, somewhere, somehow will revive the sports drama. It can be done! It just needs an inspirational story and an underdog we’ll root for! The good news is that this one might have the right ingredients, which I’m excited about because it sounds really heartwarming. There’s a new sports drama in the works based on the life of Olympic gold medalist weightlifter Jang Mi-ran, who left a lasting impression on me when she guested on 1 Night 2 Days and was just a sweet, down-to-earth regular girl who had the cutest crush on Sung Shi-kyung ever.

The new drama series is called Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-ju, and is inspired by Jang Mi-ran, who won a silver medal in her first Olympic games at the age of 21, and then went on to win a gold medal grand slam at the World Championships, the Asian Games, and the Beijing Olympics. She has since retired and runs a foundation for young athletes in minor sports. Jang was consulted on the story from its inception, and the drama will include events from her life.

It’ll be an uplifting coming-of-age story about a 20-year-old weightlifter heroine’s first love. She’s only ever lifted barbells her entire life, but when she encounters a love that hits her like a hurricane, she’ll feel embarrassed by the calluses on her hands for the first time. Aw. The campus drama will be about college students all working towards their dreams as athletes, and it’s described as a story about their growth and “an awkward first love.” I love that so much — I mean, is there any other kind?

Also, it fits with the image of Jang Mi-ran, who’s shy and soft-spoken and adorably girly around her crush (granted it was a star-crush on Sung Shi-kyung, but it was that cute). There was a weightlifting movie in 2009 called Lifting King Kong that had a similar premise, though the drama will go a little wider to include other sports like swimming and gymnastics; so it sounds a little like Taereung National Village or even Dr. Champ, which focused on Olympic hopefuls. I like the sound of this one better though, because I would love to see a female-centric sports drama with a heroine modeled after Jang Mi-ran.

Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-ju is reportedly being considered at the major networks for a Wednesday-Thursday timeslot in late 2016, though no broadcaster is attached yet.

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Yeah I remembered her in that episode where they had athlete guests. She was so adorable..

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They should get SSK to sing the OST :D

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YES. He has to sing an OST for the drama made in her honor right? :D It better happen.

I can't wait for this. It really sounds like it could be wonderful.

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Yes! He was my first kdrama OST love in Secret Garden. He was so adorable too in 2D1N.

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Aww, that would be sweet! I hope he can! :D :D :D

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Ohhh, I admire this lady athlete. Watched her in 1N2D and Win-Win with her besties PTH. Hope the drama would have a good casts as well.

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This sounds so cute. I just hope who they cast isn't this waif of a girl who looks like she will break in a heavy breeze.

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Probably a waif of a girl in a full body muscle costume.

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That sounds horrendous!

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mte. It'll be interesting how a system that treats actresses like flower pots will deal with this kind of role. Ha Jae-sook is about the only one I can think of right now who is physically appropriate (she did great playing a female wrestler in Alone in Love), but she's too old to be playing a college kid.

Personally I'm guessing they'll cast a waif and be all ~it's about the spirit of Jang Mi-ran, don't get bogged down in appearances...but appearances matter, especially when you start to think about all the talented girls who had to starve themselves/get plastic surgery to stand a chance in this industry.

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I loved Ha Jae-sook's female wrestler character! Her crush on Kam Woo-sung's character was so sweet.

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Well to be fair, I don't think it's just the Korean system, but even Hollywood would most likely cast some fitness model instead of an actual weight lifter type girl.

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Well, did they manage to cast some non-waifish girls to play the young weightlifters in Lifting King Kong (which is a delightful little movie with Lee Beom Soo), so there is hope!

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As much as I admire the lady, the subject is not fit for a drama but rather for a documentary. I love to see beauty and art in a drama (like Descendants of the Sun) not clumsy females and arrogant males.

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Please please please tell me you did not just say that, well type that, because I thought I was shallow but you my dear take the disgusting cake. You might as have well as said big people don't deserve to be on my screen, anyone above 56 kg is ugly as fuck, and any "average person" is a smear on my tv screen or laptop screen as the case maybe, even though the Lady in question has achieved more than a lot people have, but due to the singular fact that she does not look like a barbie she does not deserve to have a drama made about her life. Then again I could be wrong and might have totally misconstructed your statement, so I apologise, but if I interpreted that statement correctly I just want to know that you really really really really really suck big time.

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Thanks, Nifemi. Well said!

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I am also quite shocked by that comment. I hope the commenter clarifies exactly what is meant because it's too terrible otherwise.

Just reading the premise of this drama makes me eager to watch it. I also loved her from 1N2D.

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I'm hoping she meant clumsy in the love aspect or personality wise, rather then clumsy because she isn't thin.

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Well, the subject is about an "awkward first love". When one is awkward, one is clumsy (cause and effect). It has nothing to do with being thin or not. Generally, when they put an awkward female, the male is all perfect and arrogant.

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First of all, I don't know why you're getting all worked up as if I had offended you in some way.
Secondly, I did not say that being fat equals being ugly; I used the word beauty as a concept in general (not especially physical beauty); I was talking about the subject (that of a female weightlifter) not about the athlete (she's excellent at what she does).
Finally, I believe you confuse fiction with reality.

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Clumsy! How about Powerful?!?

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I would love to see a drama about a great athlete who deserves love and finds it. Beauty/Schmooty!

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Beauty and a..art? Descendants of the Sun? XD Are you sure

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savage

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Haha, mte.

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well the beauty is there i.e son joong ki and to lesser extent SHK also the art is there but what seems to be missing is a sense of reality, a connection. Personally though I liked the drama and spared over it at times(because frankly jin gu and SJG to drool over..........spazzing guaranteed right????)

there was something missing in it, something to touch my heart. It was sure as hell entertaining though on the other hand just imagining this drama is giving me a few feels.
Don't know if it will become a typical rom com and disappoint me but this one sentence touched me very deeply

"20-year-old weightlifter heroine’s first love. She’s only ever lifted barbells her entire life, but when she encounters a love that hits her like a hurricane, she’ll feel embarrassed by the calluses on her hands for the first time"

who does not remember feeling down because they felt they were embarrassed about themselves in front of their first crushes......

So to end this awfully confusing comment I would say it is a hell of a story and it is also the story of millions of people around the world to some extent and that surely is something that cannot be said about DoTS, however great a show it maybe.

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sorry this one's for sganarel

love
yyyy...(would you say such a thing)
P.S. see my username is also in honour of your comment

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yyyy - If you want "a sense of reality, a connection" I suggest you watch a documentary or the news. In other words you should change the genre.

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Even if you didn't like the show you cannot deny it was very beautifully filmed. The show had great cinematography, the best I've seen from a kdrama in a long time. I am sometimes in awe at the beautiful scenes that were shot.

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Your standard about beauty & art... So laughable. Best joke today ??

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It was an opinion, not a joke. You may check the dictionary.

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I'm sorry people misunderstood you. I got what you meant but am not sure how to clarify it for everyone who got offended. They read too far into it, imo, and raise valid points. For a different comment.

Clumsy females & arrogant males aren't welcomed on my screen either. I can see why you referenced DotS with the suave (to some cheesy) but honest male lead and the timid to love but equal honest and human female lead.

However, I welcome double awkward any day. If the girl is going to be tripping over words, the male better be too.

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Exactly, thank you very much.

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This got nasty rather fast. Honestly, I have mixed feelings about this drama because I feel that it does Jang Mi Ran a disservice for reasons mentioned elsewhere in this post. They point blank are did not pick an actress who looked like her (which they really could have if they tried). I'm not sure about the spirit having read articles about her just now she sounds like a wonderful sweet woman with a girl-like cuteness.

I think I would have rather seen a documentary of her life rather than a drama. I wondered immediately what her reaction would have been to them casting a slender young thing to play her falling in love with a swimmer that from what I could read was just a friend. It's possible and highly likely that she took it in a positive manner but this could've gone wrong on so many levels. I hope they consulted her during the creation of this drama. And I hope to see more dramas with truly strong female leads that don't have to lean on being cutesy and secretly feminine to garner public interest/support.

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Aw, I'm already awwing just by reading this. I'm only watching one drama these days and a story like this might just be what I need. Come fast!!

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I love the idea of this story! I will watch this.

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Who else has sighted this amazing weightlifter lady in Exploring Human Body?

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That's where I first saw her! Ah, good old days. I want a variety like that again or basically anything with Super Junior in it.

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Me too! I was so glad to see someone from Exploring Human Body here in dramabeans!

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Sounds like a cute and interesting story but I'm scared that the Korean drama execs are going to hire some stick thin actress and come up with some lame excuse as to why they did

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I wish it's someone who can at least lift...

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Omg, this totally dates me, but the second I read "sports drama" I was immediately taken back to the days when I watched Icing when I was a kid. Had to look it up again...and I was brought back to an old DB article that mentioned it, lol.

Intrigued by this idea, hope it turns out well!

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Awwww, I think this sounds cute! I would absolutely tune in for this! Please get a slot and please don't cast a traditionally 'pretty' actress. I think dramaland needs to expand its female roles and give some other types of women their time to shine.

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yes I said yes I will Yes

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I vote Ha JaeSuk for female lead!

She's wonderful, a great actress and absolutely, stunningly perfect for the role!

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True! I wonder if they will though. I would honestly be surprised. I haven't seen anyone plus size lead a drama since Kim Sam Soon.

Isn't there another girl? A younger one? Maybe the girl from Reply '88...? Lee Min Ji is her name! (lol, I had to google it).

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And another suggestion—Kim Min Young.

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Kim Hyun-sook in Rude Miss Young-ae

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Ooh yeah! I've never actually watched it so I didn't even think of it.

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Ko Su-Hee is freaking adorable. I'd love it if she'd be considered for the role.

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I don't think she could play a 20 yr old though.

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Oh that's true. I was thinking of Jang Mi-ran's current age.

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If the drama has a scene that goes into adulthood it could work.

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Nice! There really aren't that many sports dramas with a female lead. :( Us ladies are so talented though! I wonder who they would cast in this...
Hmmm, I don't usually care for all the cries of "they should cast Han Groo!" but I wouldn't mind if they did here because she's the only actress I can picture right now doing some weight-lifting, lol. I always thought she had a more toned-muscular and sporty look. Lol, sorry to be that person ya'll!

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Lol, actually I thought of more people 8D Oop.

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This would be awesome :). My heart is saying yes!

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If anyone thinks that the lead actress will actually look like a wrestler, I've got a nice ocean front property in Switzerland to sell to you. The title even says wrestling FAIRY, ffs!

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Yeah, that's why my first suggestion at 9:58 was who it was.

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Han Groo is a good thought - however, I heard that the writer for this drama also wrote O My Ghostess so I have a gut feeling that it'll be Park Bo Young. She's a great actress but she sure as hell doesn't look like a wrestler :-(

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But, it's "weightlifting". If it was wrestling, any number of body types could do since wrestling has different weight classes.

Weightlifting is a little different, though. You'd need someone with some muscle at the least.

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Ooops, you're right, wrote wrestling rather than weightlifting. But the point still stands that we won't be getting anyone remotely believable in the role.

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Lol, we can hope XD

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I could picture Shim Eun-kyung in this if she gained some muscle.

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She'd slay it. Love her!

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Boring...................

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I feel like there'd be a better possibility of them casting an actress who actually looks the part if it was on TVN. I don't know if the big 3 execs would go with non typical, non glamorous casting if either of them get the drama. And no, a thin, pretty actress gaining a little bit of weight is not what I mean. The casting department should just go for it and cast someone who looks Jang Mi-Ran and has her body type. Plenty of people will watch regardless, all that matters is that the story and writing are good and that the main actress is charming and engaging.

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There are very few actors like Christian Bale who would go through insane physical transformation for a movie role.
He was so sickly thin for "The Machinist" and then a year later he beefed up for "Batman Begins".

I guess working out to gain muscles is healthier than starving to lose weight or eating to gain a lot of weight?

This is one of those dramas that needs the physical transformation to make it believable. I don't think any actress in dramaland is physically close.

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I came to read an article ended up admiring her calves,oh lord how can i get rid of my chicken legs lol....The drama sounds interesting and i hope they cast in accordance to the character,s looks not just another pretty face,

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YESSSSS. OLYMPIC LIFTING DRAMA PLEASE. I'm an Olympic lifter who loves kdramas so if they can pull this off I will be so freaking happy. :D they'd better do it right though. None of these tiny actresses with sticks for arms. I mean, I would watch it anyway, but come on XD Also why would you be embarrassed of your calluses? O_o Maybe that's a culture thing. I hope they treat women's lifting respectfully, at least.

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Hi Galia, I hope this drama is satisfying you, even if it cannot be totally realistic! ;)) hahahaha Actually, I like it a lot. It shows the background of the athletes. They have other pressures to deal with that need to be controlled when they are in competition. I don't think that can be easy at all. I guess the comment about calluses was written by some office person who has never actually been an athlete. If they knew much about sport, they would not write such empty lines. Muscles are beautiful! Calluses are cool!

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Omg, actress Nam Ji Hyun please!

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I'll second that.

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For some reason I read this as a movie, which would've been so much better! in my humble opinion. Or rather the opinion of someone who's increasingly bored of the current drama market. Aside from that, I love the premise. A (literally) strong female lead takes front and center to a story is something I will gladly support. Mirroring the opinions of others, I too am curious as to who they will cast. There are currently no recognizable actress in the teens/20s range that fit the body type and I don't think many actresses nor their agencies would want or allow for any weight gain. I thought of Kim Hyang-gi but she's a Chungmuro girl and she's mostly baby chubby not big and muscular. Or maybe cast a total newbie which is probably the best bet in this situation.

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Seriously, anyone with misgivings about Korean film casting for this, watch the film mentioned by girlfriday, Lifting King Kong! The cast of young weightlifters is full of diverse and regular-looking girls. One of the non-waifs gets an adorable first love story. And do any of us need an excuse to watch a Lee Beom Soo movie?

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lee guk joo!

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Hard core second on Lee Guk Joo. She would be absolutely perfect!

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oh! i like her when she was guested on Win Win, and how cute she was with (now Olympic Banned) Male Swimmer Park Tae Hwan..

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It's easy to cast actors to play badminton, swimming or football athletes, but it's not easy to cast one or maybe some (since the drama needs to be populated by some people) actors/actresses to be weightlifter. Either they find any actress who would undergo physical transformation or going the easiest route and just give her fatsuit.

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Talking about weightlifting .... what about this???https://www.instagram.com/p/BFYQ0a4B56C/?r=697668632

Not related...but still...He could be someone to support female lead XD

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Park shin hye if she gains weight can do this she is athletic, and have muscles. I can relate to drama based in story from real life (One litre of tears, the cold cases in Signal ).I hope the writing will be good .

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I thought of LSY too. I loved her in Wild Romance & her part in Playful Kiss. With my lack of sports knowledge, I just wants to ask are boxing muscles similar to weight lifting muscles?

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Whoever actress get the role, I'll definitely watch it because I like sports theme movie especially if the central character is a woman(like As One). Though this will be a drama, my room is ready for it. But please dramagods don't cast sticky idol.

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Yeay! The drama is airing already. Interesting cast ?

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