Sochi-2014A lesbian athlete competing at the Winter Olympics in Sochi has suggested Russia’s gay rights issues have been exaggerated ahead of the games by the media.

Olympic ski jumper Daniela Iraschko-Stolz, who’s representing Austria at Sochi, spoke to reporters about her experiences in Russia since she arrived for the global sporting event.

“I think everything is being blown up bigger than it is. I had a very good welcome like every other athlete. There were absolutely no problems” she said, according to Reuters.

“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. 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, 30, married her lesbian partner last year (2013), taking her partner’s name of Stolz to form a double-barrel.

A total of 61 arrests have been made since the Winter Olympics began on Friday (February 7) – some 23 of which have been gay rights activists who have been seen to be in breach of the country’s so-called “gay propaganda” law.

> Claire Balding responds to Sochi critics on Twitter