Here’s a great webdrama that’s been hiding at the bottom of my Viki queue for over a year and a half! I was looking for something that wasn’t the usual 16 or 20 hour time commitment and found something Short. That’s actually the show’s name – Short.
The story is about two short track speed skaters trying to qualify for the National team and their competitive spirit, both on and off the ice.
Skating just comes naturally to Kang Ho-Young. He’s loved the ice ever since he was a young kid and claims skating is more like playing with ice, like it’s his friend. He lives with his grandfather in the rural town of Gangwon-do (where he has “an army of girls chasing after him”) and competes in amateur short track races for the prize money. When the head coach at Kangbaek Foundation discovers one of Ho-Young’s lap times was actually an unofficial tie to the world record, Ho-Young is given an offer his grandfather won’t let him refuse – he will be on the short track team (the sports university waving his tuition and providing free housing) and train to qualify for the National team. Once at the school, the press catches wind of his talent and he is given the nickname “the rising star rookie on ice.”
Although Park Eun-Ho, nicknamed “the short track emperor,” is the top ranking short track contender in the world, he’s miserable. Eun-Ho being number one is paramount to his father, the founder and CEO of Kangbaek Foundation, and no matter how well Eun-Ho does, it’s not enough to satisfy his dad. He’s tired of never being good enough in his dad’s eyes and wants to retire from the sport. But when rookie Ho-Young becomes part of the team, Eun-Ho begins to dust off some of his competitive spirit. Even though Ho-Young may have fundamental athleticism, Eun-Ho’s years of experience has given him a strong foundation in handling a race and he realizes he just may be able to teach the new rookie a thing or two about short track racing.
Maeng Man-Bok and Kang Ho-Young have been best friends since they were young. Like Eun-Ho and Ho-Young, he is working towards qualifying for the National team. His mother owns a small restaurant and he often helps her with food deliveries. Man-Bok is a quiet, sympathetic young man.
Man-Bok’s cousin Yoo Ji-Na was a promising rising star in the figure skating world until she injured her leg. Although she quit the sport, she still has dreams of being in the spotlight and has turned her attention to being an idol. She had been attending school in the U.S. but has returned, without her parents’ knowledge, to participate in an idol competition. Eun-Ho comes to her rescue the night she is having a tussle with some bouncers at a club and instantly falls for her. Ho-Young, too, decides he likes her after watching her dance.
Maeng Man-Hee is Maeng Man-Bok’s younger sister who has had a crush on Ho-Young since their days in Gangwon-do. She is planning to be a sports medicine major and uses her knowledge to help her brother, Eun-Ho, and Ho-Young with their training. She has a positive personality and enjoys cheering for the boys at their races.
Coach Son is the head coach at Kangbaek Foundation and a legend of short track skating. He sees true potential in Ho-Young and isn’t thrilled when he’s told to make Ho-Young Eun-Ho’s pacesetter. He cares about all of the young men on his team and wants the best for them.
Park Hoon founded Kangbaek Foundation in order to uphold the values of fairness and sportsmanship, naming it after his old friend who passed away before his career as a short track skater could even get off the ground. Kangbaek is the most prestigious name in the sports industry, ranked first both domestically and internationally. Park Hoon loves his son but is more concerned about Eun-Ho’s skating than his heart.
You can read about 25 year old Kang Tae-Oh, the man who plays Kang Ho-Young, in my Evergreen, My First First Love, and The Tale of Nokdu reviews. I absolutely loved him in all three of those dramas and his performance in Short won him a place on my favorite actors list.
The actor playing the part of Park Eun-Ho is Yeo Hoe-Hyun. He began his acting career in 2014 with the motion picture Still, Life Goes On and the TV drama Pinocchio. He’s been in four movies and 16 dramas, two webdramas, and one one-act drama for which he earned a Best Actor in a One-Act/Special/Short Drama award. The dramas I’ve seen him in are Pinocchio, Doctors, and Solomon’s Perjury.
In spite of Short being just four episodes, it has a longer drama feel to it. Not only does the writing give us a back story on these people but it’s long enough to incorporate budding relationships, solidify friendships, and show decent character growth.
It can’t be easy to direct sporting sequences but this show really captured the skating scenes well. I was hopeful I’d be able to find some information about the skating but came up empty. It’s obvious the main actors didn’t have doubles for every ice scene because we can see it’s really them out there a good chunk of the time. I was very impressed with their skills and abilities. I’ll bet they did lot of practising in order to perform their skating scenes so well.
When I discovered OCN aired Short in conjunction with the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics, curiosity set in and I started searching for information about this particular sport and how well South Korea has performed in it. The following is some of what I found. The most decorated short track speed skater in Olympic history is South Korean born Ahn Hyun-Soo (he later became a Russian citizen and raced for the Russian team under the name Victor An) who has a total of six gold and two bronze Olympic medals. Counting all the races he’s been in, the man has a total 44 first, 16 second, and 11 third place medals! Also, the youngest person to win an Olympic medal in short track skating is Kim Yoon-Mi, a South Korean who was just 13 at the time. Since 1992 South Korea has only not earned the most Olympic medals in the sport twice. They hold more Olympic medals in short track speed skating than any other country – South Korea has 48 medals, China and Canada each have 33, and the U.S. is in third place with just 20.
So, the editors missed one little thing – while waiting for a bus, Man-Hee gives Ho-Young a drink. He takes a swig and gets a drop of the liquid on his nose. However, without wiping it off, it’s somehow magically gone in his next close-up.
Im Young-Mook sings the show’s upbeat, energizing theme song We Will Be Stars. Kim Do-Yeon’s character, Yoo Ji-Na, begins singing a song at an audition but it fades and a real song is put over it. I have no idea whether or not she really sang that little bit but, as a member of the girl group Weki Meki, there’s a very good chance she did. Sadly, I don’t know what the song is that went over Ji-Na’s singing.
The skating rink and Maeng Man-Bok’s mother’s house are the two main backdrops in the drama. The house, which is over her restaurant, is older and not fancy but it’s big enough for her to house two extra young men (Eun-Ho and Ho-Young) and a niece when the need arises.
This is a quality drama that definitely belongs on every Kdrama lover’s watch list. It’s entertaining, enjoyable, inspiring, and Short. Enough said.
Darling, talented Kang Tae-Oh
Only four episodes/hours
One tiny editing “oops”