'Dancing With the Stars' Apolo Ohno talks elimination: 'It's sad because we tried so hard'

apolo-ohno-karina-smirnoff-eliminated-dwts.jpgThe last remaining male celebrities on "Dancing With the Stars: All-Stars," Apolo Ohno and Emmitt Smith, were sent home Monday (Nov. 20).

Although both men wanted to make it to next week's final, neither has any regrets about their performance this season.

"It's sad, because I think we tried so hard," Apolo told us backstage, his arm around partner Karina Smirnoff. "But at the same time, I'm proud of how far we've come. "

"It's been a long incredible, challenging and very fulfilling season. Every single week, we gave 100 percent, and it's tough. As a competitor, you want to go to the final. You want the opportunity to fight for mirror-ball trophy.

"But at the same time I'm proud. I was happy no matter what the result was gonna be. And I'm proud of [Karina] for being able to push me to give so much emotionally to each dance and grow as a person.

"I've been able to show different aspects and facets of my personality that normally I reserve for just my very closest friends and family, and I was able to show it to millions of people who watch the show."

When asked whether their "big top jazz" offbeat routine might have been perceived as too strange by voters, Anton said he thought Karina's choreography was "absolutely amazing."

"It was supposed to be strange," he added. "It was supposed to be out there and abstract and avant garde. It's something we've never seen before on the show."

Given their assignment, the only other option, joked Karina, was "pulling a baby elephant onto the floor and doing tricks with it!"

Apolo and Karina received a perfect score last night for their sensual rumba, and chose to dance it again for their fateful encore tonight.

"At first I like was yay!" Karina told us about her reaction to being selected to perform. "And then I went, is that a bad thing?"

"Last night, we connected on a level that spiritually, physically, emotionally that we've not had on the season so far," Apolo shared about their poignant routine. "I felt like we were in a bubble, dancing together -- it was an amazing experience."

Are you disappointed Apolo and Karina didn't make it to the final? Which of the three remaining All-Stars most deserves the mirror-ball trophy?
Photo/Video credit: ABC