Rebecca Adlington said she was "overwhelmed" by the crowds who had turned out to welcome her home.
She had returned from the Olympic Games in Beijing just 24 hours earlier with the rest of Team GB.
Mansfield mayor Tony Eggington had promised Rebecca a pair of designer shoes if she won gold.
Rebecca shared an open top bus with her mother Kay, father Steve and sisters Chloe (centre) and Laura (left).
Official estimates put the crowd at more than 10,000, with many buildings draped with banners.
Rebecca's mother Kay said: "I must admit when the bus pulled round I had a few tears
in my eyes. This has been unbelievable."
Linda Bennett, 51, who helped train Adlington, said: "From the first time I saw her when she was about five I knew
she was very good."