Ohno tells PEOPLE that while on Dancing with the Stars, "Everything gets put on hold"

By Apolo Ohno
November 12, 2012 06:05 PM
Craig Sjodin/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 is now blogging for PEOPLE.com about competing with Karina Smirnoff in the all-star season.

Last week, we were in the bottom two. I try so hard every single week, and I think I’ve really turned it up a notch since basically week five. Our fusion dance was actually one of my favorite dances. I love the paso, and the song was really strong. I thought the choreography was great. For me to feel comfortable enough to take my shirt off, I feel like it had to have been a really good moment.

It really sucks that we had to go first. Traditionally, in the history of Dancing with the Stars, nobody ever gets perfect scores going first. I don’t know if it would have changed anything. I just wished we had been able to go a little bit later.

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It fired me up even more to just jump back into rehearsal, crank it even harder, think outside the box and really just do something different. At first I thought it was good we got all nines, but then we still ended up in the bottom two. I was never in that position when I was on the show last time, so it’s turned into a motivating factor.

I take every single week as if it’s our last week ever on the show. I think that allows me to really perform and entertain at the best level I possibly can. It’s fun, but it’s tough. I’m not sleeping much, but it’s good.

If we were to get eliminated, I absolutely would not regret the experience. The show and the journey and the things you go through are really amazing. But I’m not even thinking about that. If Tom [Bergeron] calls my name on Tuesday and tells me to come to the bottom of the stairs, I will tell him I am fine where I am and I think I’ll stay up there for a little while. I’m not going to move.

I’m hurting this week. This week is hard. We have two full dances. Karina [Smirnoff] and I have the tango, which is our individual dance. We’re dancing to a great song by Bonnie Tyler called “I Need a Hero.”

I’m trying out this entrance to the dance, and I’ve never really done it on the show before. I’m coming in from the corner of the skybox. It’s a little crazy. I’m told to come in like a superhero or action figure. I’m not really the best with heights. That’s why I’ve always stayed low to the ground.

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The other dance we have is our trio dance, and we have Sasha Farber, who is one of the professionals on the show. We’re doing a jive to “Grease Lightning,” which I love. The number is sick, but I have two Russian dancers who forget that I’m not a pro. So they’re putting in this crazy, fast routine that normally a pro would have. My hip flexors feel like guitar strings right now. They are gone.

When I’m not dancing, I’ve been laying low. I just bought a new place, so I’m just remodeling. It’s on the Westside in [L.A.’s] Century City. I love things right now. L.A’s weather is so beautiful.

I haven’t been on a date in a long time, so maybe I’ll have a little time for that – jeez. With the show, it’s so crazy. Your social life and everything gets put on hold.