Victors were welcomed back to their home towns as heroes after the Games. Typically entering the city in a procession where they rode a four-horse chariot victors had huge banquets held in their honour and they could receive additional benefits such as exemption from tax and invitations to join the political elite. Cities also received prestige from victories at the Games and for this reason they sometimes offered financial incentives for athletes such as Solon’s 500 drachmas prize (a substantial sum considering one sheep cost one drachma at the time).
However, the real prize for athletes was glory, fame and, in a very real sense, historical immortality.
An artist's impression of ancient Olympia
Source: Ancient History Encyclopedia