Apolo Ohno & Karina Smirnoff Say Fighting Helped Them on 'Dancing with the Stars'

"We got over that and now emotionally we're both charged," Ohno tells PEOPLE


Maybe they should argue every week!

Karina Smirnoff and Apolo Ohno, who had a rough time in rehearsals before Monday’s country music-themed Dancing with the Stars show, came out on top as one of two couples to score perfect 30s.

“We needed that,” Smirnoff said of their spat, which was featured on the episode. “We got to the point where we didn’t want to upset each other. We didn’t want to be mean and we kept to ourselves and it just kept building up.”

According to Ohno, having a disagreement only made them stronger. “The fight was actually perfect in terms of the timing,” he said. “We got over that and now emotionally we’re both charged and I think we have momentum and we’re hungry for more and we’re ready.”

It also helped to dance their waltz to Rascal Flatts’s emotional song about cancer, “Skin (Sarah Beth),” in front of guests from the City of Hope.

“Both of us – we have a personal connection to the song and to its meaning and to cancer itself,” Ohno said. “When you – either privately or publicly – talk about those things, for me it’s hard for me to express it through the dance and that’s what she’s so good at, showing me how this feeling would relate to an arm movement. Obviously, the choreography, I thought it was perfect.”

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