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Scotty Lago -- Apologize and Go ... Or Just Go!

If Scotty Lago didn't volunteer to leave the Olympics, he'd have been told to leave by the U.S. Olympic Committee ... this according to sources close to Lago.

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Lago offered up an apology after a mildly suggestive photo of him -- using his bronze medal for snowboarding to score chicks -- popped up on the Internet. He agreed to leave the Olympic Village on his own accord, but sources close to Lago tell TMZ he received an ultimatum from the U.S. Olympic Committee: either say you're sorry and go ... or get ejected from the Olympic Village.

As for when we might hear from Lago himself ... we're told he's in a "blackout period" -- meaning he can't talk about the incident at all until March 3.

A call to the USOC was not returned.

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