Dancing With the Stars

Shawn Johnson's DWTS Injury Is a 'Devastating' Reminder of Olympic Retirement

10/30/2012 at 06:30 PM EDT

The result of Shawn Johnson and Derek Hough's cha cha on Monday night's Dancing with the Stars wasn't anything to frown about – but it left the gymnast feeling blue.

Rehearsing for the country-themed night Johnson, 20, re-injured her knee, giving her a painful reminder of how her Olympic career ended.

"It took me back too much," she told PEOPLE backstage after the dance. "The first thought I had was the Olympics. I mean I lived two full years in training just constantly having to deal with pain, and push it out of my mind, being as that's what took me out of the Olympics. Feeling that again was devastating."

Adds the athlete, "The thought of that taking me out of this – I hated it. I felt overwhelmed. You can say I got really emotional. And the pain on top of it crushed me."

But Johnson is taking the necessary steps to recover.

"I've been doing therapy all week, and it's just going to be maintenance of keeping my body healthy and paying attention to it. It's always the little things that get you hurt."

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