Following an overview of the epic evidence, the article examines the concept of kydos in epinician poetry and the rewards granted to victorious athletes. It has been suggested that kydos was talismanic power, akin to the concept of Oceanic mana, and that crown victors returned to their cities bringing back this power and were granted special honors and important offices because of their magical potency. The association of epinician kydos with mana is unfounded. The victors brought back only glory (doxa) or fame (kleos); kydos could not be brought back as a talisman and could not be used as such in the pursuit of future victories. A careful examination of the evidence indicates that talismanic authority was not a consideration in the pursuit of crown victories and in the victors' reception by the city. Such victories had the potential of being used as political capital by the victors and of being co-opted by the cities for the purposes of internal political harmony and international prestige.