To read through the old LA Times archives, to dig through all of the gushing, flattering pieces, is to remember Jose Loiola as a man of near mythical proportions, a beach volleyball Paul Bunyan. How hard he could hit! How high he could jump! How entertaining he was to watch! How loud and brash and charismatic he was!

Loiola laughs at those memories. He laughs through a glass of wine on SANDCAST: Beach Volleyball with Tri Bourne and Travis Mewhirter, even though he has sworn off alcohol during the week.

It’s just one glass, right?

Nothing compared to what he and the boys could put down during the 90s, when the AVP was a rollicking party dishing out tens of millions per year and Brazil was in its nascent stages of becoming a bona fide beach volleyball power.

Loiola was the first, and for the 48-year-old there is no forgetting the day he and Eduardo Bacil took down the Gods. Back then, in the late 80s and early 90s, the Gods were known as Smith and Stoklos.

In the 86, 87 and 88 seasons, Sinjin Smith and Randy Stoklos would win 44 of 71 AVP tournaments and three of four FIVBs. You could count on one hand the teams who had a shot at beating them, and Jose Loiola would not have been among them.

It is with a delicious stroke of irony that Loiola and Bacil, a fellow Brazilian, stunned the Americans in their primes. Beach volleyball had been a weekend activity in Brazil prior to 1987. Nothing more. It was a soccer-mad state with beautiful beaches and recreational volleyball.

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