His teenage son lay beside him, snoring gently. One was consumed by fear and guilt. The other had only his dream. The father spoke quietly and movingly yesterday of that night four years ago when Michael Jamieson, now an Olympic silver medallist, found that his ambition required the most basic sacrifices.
The swimmer was following his coach, Fred Vernoux, to France. Jamieson, the younger, was a man of focus. He had started off at the Scotia Swimming Club in Bishopbriggs, Glasgow, but believed he needed another stage and it was then that he applied to join Ventoux at the Commonwealth Pool in Edinburgh.
However, this programme broke down when the pool closed, but the young Jamieson was determined to make the most of his opportunities, to take every step to become the best he could. Vernoux was now in France. Jamieson wanted to be there, too.
This road led to a house in Paris. Michael, the father, recalled the scene. "We're standing outside on this beautiful Parisian street that looks absolutely gorgeous," he said. "It's a lovely building, we get the key and walk into this open area with a marble entrance. It was absolutely stunning and I was thinking: 'How are we going to afford this?"'
He found out after he walked all the way into a back alley, climbed a stair case and "headed up 180 steps to an attic room".
"There were these doors and it looked like prison cells. When we walked in I was like 'heavens above', he can't stay here, his mother will kill me."
Jamieson Sr looked at the floor and decided to sleep on the bed with his son. "Within 20 minutes he was snoring. I was lying there with tears streaming down my face. I was thinking: 'I can't leave you here'. But he said: 'Dad, leave me'. He was just about 19. He stayed in that room for over a year."
The financial times were tough. "My whole wage was going straight out," said Jamieson, who was paying £480 a month for the rent on a flat that he cleaned with disinfectant on the day after that fateful first night in Paris. The mother, Jacqueline, recalled: "I just remember it bled us dry. But it was worth every penny and I wouldn't change it."
The swimmer stayed. He prospered. Four years on, in the febrile atmosphere of the aquatic centre, Jamieson, the boy who learned the hard lessons in Paris, was the man who won silver in the 200 metre breaststroke, just beaten by a world record swim from Daniel Guyrta of Hungary.
The Jamieson family – mother, father and 20-year-old daughter Lauren – were jubilant at the result. But the father, who played football with Alloa Athletic and Stenhousemuir and is now a white-collar worker, was not shocked.
His son had given him a more profound surprise on a walk up Arthur's Seat in Edinburgh after the swimmer had made that first move first to improve his career, enlisting under the command of Ventoux.
"I came back from that walk and told my wife that I had just had the most inspirational chat with my son. He talked and talked and he's not a great talker," he said. "He told me his ambitions. I listened and didn't have to say anything. I came home and thought that I'd heard something special.
"He told me he was going to win medals at the Olympics and he didn't want to be the guy who only went to one Olympics. He wanted to go and win a medal – then go back and do it again. I believed him at the time. He meant it."
The proof was presented in the Olympic pool on Wednesday night. Jamieson, the father, talked of the highlight of his football career being the moment he turned out for Clydebank on trial against Celtic at Parkhead. "I hardly got a kick," he said.
His son, too, did not get a kick at Parkhead at Celtic Park on Wednesday but he turned in a performance of star-like quality as his performance was broadcast on the big screen. One of the first questions he asked his parents when he met them at Team GB house was what was the result of the Champions League qualifier. They did not know. They had other things on their mind, but a friend helped out.
The son is the product of a solid family with sporting genes. The former footballer is married to a keen swimmer. "I had big dreams as a swimmer but was just club class. I didn't have the support Michael has behind him. I used to bus it to events and everything."
Another swimming family had cause for contemplation and this involves financial matters. Patrick Miley coached his daughter Hannah to fifth place in the 200m medley and to seventh in the 400m medley final. Yesterday both father and daughter were looking towards Glasgow 2014, with Patrick saying that his best hope was for a lottery win to help fund the way forward.
The Mileys are prepared to make changes. They always are. They are a partnership who live on the belief that something has to change if results are to change. They are determined to make the most of an extraordinary talent. They train at Inverurie but there must be a thought of travelling abroad, to widen not just horizons but the training experience.
"I am tempted," said Hannah yesterday. "We have proven we can get this far with the facilities we have got. But it is not just about facilities, it is about the quality of coaching and for me my dad has always been the best coach I could have asked for. If getting better means going away somewhere, then so be it."
The Mileys will not end up in a Parisian garret. It is hoped, though, that any foreign excursion would find a finishing point on a podium in Rio de Janeiro.
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