After their return to their homeland, the Olympic victors received monetary prizes and honorary titles. It is said that some of the cities
gave to the victors five talents as a prize, but the amount
differed from city to city.
The Olympic victors were identified with the heroes and demigods and received numerous honorary distinctions and privileges, which differed depending on the area. Their entrance to the city was usually a commemorative and glorious occasion, with the crowd throwing flowers and tree leaves. The Olympic victor entered the city on a tethrippon (a four-horse chariot) and on some occasions part of the city-walls was brought down as an indication that they were no longer necessary for the city's defense, since such heroes lived in the city. The reception of the victors was corresponding to the one reserved for generals, when they returned victorious from their campaigns. The Olympic victor visited the temple of the city's patron deity, made sacrifices and offered his wreath.
The ceremony was followed by a celebration. The victors had the right to dine at the Prytaneion free of charge for the rest of their lives. They were offered a honorary position during public competitions and, after the middle of the 5th century BC, were exempted from paying taxes. Their name was carved on columns in public areas. In Sparta, the Olympic victors had the right to fight together with the kings during wars, a particularly honorary distinction. During the Hellenistic and Roman periods, their privileges increased and the Roman Olympic victors could become members of the Council (Boule).
The Olympic victor retained his fame throughout his life. In the sacred area of Olympia, the victors set their statues with their name, the name of their family and their city. The victors commissioned victory odes (epinicia) which were composed by famous poets and ensured the athlete's everlasting fame.