"I don't think we were as connected as we normally are," Ohno tells PEOPLE
Credit: Adam Taylor/ABC

Apolo Ohno is a former Dancing with the Stars champion, winning the coveted mirror-ball trophy in season 4 with Julianne Hough. The ice-skating Olympian will now be blogging for PEOPLE.com about competing with Karina Smirnoff in the all-star season.

Everything about this week’s dance is new to me. It’s a new dance, new style of dance, new music, everything. Country is new to me, too, and that’s the theme.

We’re doing the Viennese Waltz to “Skin” by Rascal Flatts. I feel a lot better going into this dance than last week. I think last week, we were going in the right direction, but Karina [Smirnoff] and I were going through some issues. We see each other every single day and it makes things difficult sometimes. At the end of the dance, I don’t think we were as connected as we normally are. Technically, the dance was good, but it wasn’t my best.

Going into this week’s competition, I told Karina, “Let’s clear the air. Let’s get back on track and find new inspiration.” We went out, we talked, we had a good time. I told her we should treat every week like it’s our last. I want to just forget about the scores and the comments, and use the criticism as constructive. I know for me, that means emotionally showing a different side that perhaps people haven’t seen.

This song is about cancer. This song has a personal connection to both Karina and me. I have to go into a very different place, all while trying to perform this dance. It’s really beautiful and really smooth. I really like it, but it’s really emotional. I’m inviting patients from the City of Hope who have gone through or are going through cancer treatments, so I hope they enjoy it.

We just have this whole new approach and we’ve been kicking each other’s ass in the studio. It’s awesome. We’ve been hitting it hard every single day. I’m happy with the dance. We’re just continuing to keep polishing.

I’m not even thinking about elimination. When the time comes, I’ll obviously have emotions, but right now, the only thing I’m thinking about is this dance. Every single other thing is out of my control, and the only thing I can control is how well I perform and if everyone loves it. I’m committed to giving this one 100 percent.