Australian swimmer Stephanie Rice has made a tearful apology for a homophobic slur on Twitter but will still lose her Jaguar sponsorship deal.

Triple Olympic gold medallist Rice tweeted “Suck on that faggots!” following the Wallabies’ Tri Nations win over the Springboks on Sunday.

The Tweet was globally reported and provoked an outcry led by gay ex-footballer Ian Roberts who called Rice an “idiot” and called for sponsors to ditch her.

Today, the swim star called a press conference to back up the apologies she has already made on Twitter. Breaking down in tears, she said:

“I owe it to those who I have offended to publicly say, I am sorry. It is not me to give offence to other people no matter who they are.

“I am not a person who judges others or speaks in a way that hurts others.

 “My comments were thoughtless and careless but I can assure you when I made those comments on Twitter I never intended to offend anybody.

“I’ve learned a lot in the last couple of days.

“I’ve learned I must think before I speak and this has been a very important lesson.

“I’ve also learned that some things you say can mean more to others than they do to you.”

Rice has had her deal with motor company Jaguar terminated since the homophobic comments on Twitter, but she’s been kept on by her other major sponsors, underwear company Davenport and Sunrice.