Gay at the Games: Gay Ski Jumper 'Welcomed Like Every Other Athlete'

By Michelle Garcia

Originally published on Advocate.com February 11 2014 2:44 PM ET

As out Austrian ski jumper Daniela Iraschko-Stolz (shown) prepared for her Olympic debut in ski jumping Tuesday, the married athlete said that she has not encountered any problems despite Russia's antigay law and violent environment.

"I think everything is being blown up bigger than it is," she said, according to Reuters. "I had a very good welcome like every other athlete. There were absolutely no problems. Naturally you have to look at it from a different point of view and always be critical, but especially in my situation, I don't want to talk too much about it."

She added, "I only want to focus on sports and I think if you're tolerant towards everyone else they treat you the same way and it gives you a lot of joy. I think you can make a statement by jumping well."

Iraschko-Stolz will compete in the final round Tuesday, ranked fifth among the competition.

- Over the weekend, out cross-country skier Barbara Jezeršek finished 19th in the 7.5 kilometer skiathlon with 40:29.5. Marit Bjoergen finished first, taking home the gold for Norway, while Charlotte Kalla of Sweden finished second and Norway's Heidi Weng finished third. According to RTV Slovenia, Jezeršek said she was happy with her performance.

- Dutch speed skater Sanne Van Kerkhof thought about ending her skating career after she fell during the 3,000 meter relay semifinals on Monday. She even almost hopped on a plane to head back to the Netherlands, but she told NUSport that she will stay in Sochi with her team, and that she will consider ending her career officially after the World Championships in Montreal.

- Dutch snowboarder Cheryl Maas finished 12th at the women's slopestyle semifinal on Sunday, she said she is headed home.

"[The Olympics] are over for me," Maas said on Facebook after her run. "I'm bummed I could not show [my] full potential. I would like to thank everybody that helped me and support me. And my fans for cheering me on. I had a great experience. Now it's time to have some fun!"