A tearful Australian swim star Stephanie Rice has made an emotional public apology over her homophobic slur on Twitter, saying she has learned a huge lesson.
Rice twice broke down in tears at a media conference she called in Sydney as she pleaded for forgiveness over what she labelled "thoughtless and careless" comments.
The triple Olympic gold medallist tweeted "Suck on that faggots!" following the Wallabies' dramatic Tri-Nations weekend win over the Springboks early on Sunday.
She deleted the post and apologised via the social networking site but has now opted to offer a public apology as well.
The 22-year-old had her deal with motor company Jaguar terminated on Tuesday.
The incident caps an eventful few weeks for Rice, who recently had shoulder surgery that will see her miss next month's Commonwealth Games.