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Gay athlete says uproar over Russian anti-gay laws overblown

Sunday, February 09, 2014 - 01:44

Feb. 9 - Austrian ski jumper Daniela Iraschko-Stolz says protests aren't the best way to criticize Russia's anti-gay propaganda laws -- ''I think you can make a statement by jumping well.'' Deborah Gembara reports.

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Austrian ski jumper Daniela Iraschko-Stolz, who lives openly as a lesbian, says the uproar over Russia's treatment of gay people has been excessive SOUNDBITE: Austrian Ski Jumper Daniela Iraschko-Stolz Saying (German): "I think that it has been blown out of proportion compared to what it is. I had a very good welcome like every other athlete. There were absolutely no problems." She acknowledges that her experience as a visitor is likely very different from those who live here. Under Russia's controversial anti-gay propaganda law, it is illegal to publicly support gays and lesbians or to distribute materials about homosexuality to minors. As for criticism of Moscow's policies, she thinks actions not words are more effective. SOUNDBITE: Austrian Ski Jumper Daniela Iraschko-Stolz Saying (German): "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." For Iraschko-Stolz, being in Sochi for the debut of women's' ski jumping is the culmination of a dream -- and the end to a decade-long battle to have her sport officially recognized. SOUNDBITE: Austrian Ski Jumper Daniela Iraschko-Stolz Saying (German): "I am very very happy that we can be part of it, the atmosphere is fantastic, living in the Olympic village is better than what I could ever imagine. Now I am living like in a fairy-tale, because as a child I've always wanted to take part in the Olympic Games and finally it is happening now." She has so far dominated training sessions and is expected to be among the first to medal in this brand new Olympic sport.

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Gay athlete says uproar over Russian anti-gay laws overblown

Sunday, February 09, 2014 - 01:44