Britain's Olympic champions have been recognised with golden postboxes and special stamps. In America, new champions have been given a healthy $25,000 cash bonus.
But none of that can hold a candle to the prizes lavished upon Trinidad and Tobago's champion Keshorn Walcott.
The 19-year-old was a shock winner of the javelin, taking advantage of the world's best all having off-days as he came through to claim victory with a relatively unremarkable throw of 84.58m.
But while his throw was rather modest by Olympic standards (it was the shortest winning effort since 1988), the prizes it brought him are anything but: on his return to his home country Walcott was given £100,000 in cash, a luxury home, 20,000 acres of land and - best of all - a free lighthouse!
As if that weren't enough, Walcott - who is the first athlete from outside Europe to win the javelin in 20 years - will also have a yet-to-be-determined national landmark named in his honour, while Caribbean Airlines will name a plane after him.
The scale of the prizes reflect the rarity of the achievement for a Trinidadian: Walcott is only the second gold medallist ever from Trinidad and Tobago, with the first being sprinter Hasley Crawford, who won the 100m back in 1976.
It wasn't only Walcott who benefited from his throw, however: everyone in the country got a day off work to mark his achievement, thanks to Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Biessessar declaring a national holiday.
No wonder so many turned out to welcome him home: thousands of people
turned up at the airport to welcome him home, all decked out in the
national colours of red and black.