War hero, 28, who lost both legs and won a medal in Prince Harry’s Invictus Games is also a ballet dancer, presenter and author will star in reality show

War hero, 28, who lost both legs and won a medal in Prince Harry’s Invictus Games is also a ballet dancer, presenter and author will star in reality show
War hero, 28, who lost both legs and won a medal in Prince Harry’s Invictus Games is also a ballet dancer, presenter and author will star in reality show

He’s a hunky war hero, who just happens to be a ballet dancer and a comedian, and has even won a medal in Prince Harry’s Invictus Games.

So when Oleksandr Budko, 28, appears on the Ukrainian version of the global hit reality show, The Bachelor, this autumn, he could be the hunkiest singleton to ever star on the series – that sees a string of women compete to be his bride.

Oleksandr Budko signed up as a volunteer soldier when Russia invaded in February 2022, joining the Carpathian Sich 49th Infantry Battalion.

Within six months he was promoted to platoon commander but his army career came to an end in August that year when he lost both legs when a shell exploded near him in Izyum, northeastern Ukraine.

Far from letting the traumatic experience hold him back, Oleksandr has gone from strength to strength as a ballet dancer, presenter and author – even winning a medal in Prince Harry’s Invictus Games.

Oleksandr Budko is set to star on the Ukrainian version of The Bachelor – and could be the most desirable candidate of all time

Speaking about joining the show, he said: ‘I am not looking for an ideal. I’m looking for someone whose inner world I can admire.

‘I want her to be a person with great respect for veterans who care about barrier-free and inclusive spaces.

‘For me, The Bachelor is a chance to meet someone I want to try and start a family with. ‘I know from my own experience that miracles can be found anywhere, and I believe one can find love on the show.’

Lyudmila Semchuk, general director of STB TV channel said: ‘Today, the ideal man in the eyes of Ukrainian women is a defender, with whom you feel safe.’

The American dating show started in 2022 and after 28 series (a 29th was announced earlier this month) it has seen spin-offs including The Bachelorette, Bachelor Pad, The Golden Bachelor, The Bachelor Winter Games, Bachelor in Paradise and is aired in 36 countries.

In the show, the ‘Bachelor’ picks from a series of contestants and chooses one to propose to at the end.

They are always desirable and past Bachelors have included successful water skiers, Harvard graduates and even featured Spencer Matthews from Made In Chelsea in the 2012 UK version.

Oleksandr is a war hero who lost both his legs in the war against Russia while fighting for his country
He even won a bronze medal for swimming in Prince Harry’s Invictus Games
Oleksandr has gone from strength to strength as a ballet dancer, presenter and author
The brave 28-year-old signed up as a volunteer soldier when Russia invaded in February 2022, joining the Carpathian Sich 49th Infantry Battalion
He hopes his future fiancée will be a person ‘with great respect for veterans who care about barrier-free and inclusive spaces’

But Oleksandr has the potential to outshine them all as the most hunky bachelor ever seen on the show.

Prior to the war, he was a graphic designer who also worked part time in a coffee shop.

After his injuries, he received rehabilitation in the US and was given prosthetics.

Describing the moment the shell hit, he told the Ukraine World website: ‘Lying on my stomach, I didn’t even hear the whistle of the shell. All I felt was the hellish pain, a suffocating smell and earth in my nose.’

In 2023 he competed in Prince Harry’s Invictus Games, the international athletics tournament for injured veterans, winning a bronze medal for swimming.

He then starred in the Sarah Jessica Parker-produced film Front Row and wrote a book called The Story Of A Stubborn Man.

His travel show Leg Dump aims to increase accessibility in Ukrainian cities and more recently he has moved into the realm of stand-up comedy.

The new Bachelor performed alongside the United Ukrainian Ballet in California in 2023 – both with and without his legs.

His army career was cut short in August 2022 after a shell exploded near him and he needed both legs amputated
The new Bachelor performed alongside the United Ukrainian Ballet in California in 2023 – both with and without his legs

‘This choreography is about the consequences of the war, about people, about how indomitable we are, despite the pain and losses,’ he wrote on Instagram at the time.

Producers hope the ballet-dancing war hero will reflect the country’s status as being actively at war.

CEO of Starlight Media Oleksandr Bohutskyi said: ‘We thank Warner Bros. International Television for this undoubtedly important partnership and their willingness to see new power and senses in the world’s iconic format in the extraordinary circumstances of the Russian-Ukrainian war.

‘We believe that love and life will win. This fall, on STB, we will be cheering for the love story of our modern-day hero and shaping the culture of new relationships.’

 
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