While Weight’s narrative is still centered on a rom-com, I appreciate how it allows us take a peek into the not-so-glam side of sports. Whether you are a sports fan or not, at the very least, you’d have heard of the Olympics. And if your country is fortunate enough, you’d probably be able to rattle off the names of at least one or two gold medalists. That kinda proves how close sports and sports stars are to our hearts, much like the entertainment industry. It is an accessible kind of enjoyment, you don’t need to exactly KNOW how to play the game but you can still appreciate the winner — and the sports. Compare this to something like the Arts (think Classical Music) where you’d probably need some form of background in order to fully appreciate it and become familiar with it.
Besides training hard, there are other sacrifices which a sports star made that we may not have considered.
1) The diet
Weight contrasts 2 very different kinds of sports – weightlifting and rhythmic gymnastics – and how much food goes down the tummy of each player. It may look sad that Shi-ho can only pick at salads and have a yogurt for a meal, so much so she ends up having gastric problems and an eating disorder. But being a weightlifter isn’t that much “fun” either.
The weightlifters appear to have the time of the day enjoying each and every meal in Weight, but Bok-joo’s forced weight gain hints at something darker. Juz as the gymnasts are forced to starve themselves, Bok-joo has to distend her stomach by literally force feeding herself. I find myself cringing whenever she makes herself push in that one more mouthful of rice or meat.
And she is correct to say that it is more difficult to increase weight than to lose it. Cos that increased in food intake muz translate to an eventual increase in muscle mass. So while she is piling on the food, at the same time, the upward intensity of her training burns off the calories. And the horrible cycle of over-eating, over-exercising continues. (imagine juz making yourself eat SO much until you feel like throwing up every meal…then exercising it off, and repeat)
2) The finances
Sports played or competed on the professional level is expensive. From my own experience, the most basic gymnastics leotard costs as much as a mid-range office wear, but with less material. So it’s not surprising that many athletes end up dropping the sports simply cos they run out of money to continue pursuing their dreams. Like Shi-ho. It’s a painful irony, cos if she had enough financial backing from her family to train overseas in Russia, it is likely she will be able to move past her current plateau. As it is, her cash strapped (and now divorced) parents not only curtail her dream, but also end up blaming her for their current situation.
3) A bleak future
There is only one gold medal, sought after by so many competitors. And for a sports man who has spent nearly his entire life training, he has very little alternative career choices. Bok-joo’s sunbaes, other than Woon-ki, are understandably worried about their future. So I cut them some slack when they rib Woon-ki in jealousy about him getting to join competitions while they languish in the training room. Without any medals under their belt, they can only apply for a mediocre training coach position at most.
4) Personal sacrifices
While Lee Sung-kyung is still pretty enough to snare boyish Nam Joo-hyuk, the real Jang Mi-ran (whom Weight is loosely based on) looks nothing like Bok-joo. She is however, exactly how Bok-joo describes female weightlifters – they are built like men, and when they lift weights, they get a double-chinned look, with veins popping out from their necks. And a female weightlifter’s hands are always filled with calluses. It’s clearly a sports where a woman makes a huge sacrifice to take part in, because they give up society’s ideal of how a woman should look like.