Olympic officials praised Soviet preparations for the 1980 Olympics yesterday but said the Russians have set aside too few good tickets and room accommodations for an estimated 50,000 U.S. tourists who will want to attend the games.
At a press conference at the completion of a four-day visit to Soviet Olympic sites, U.S. Olympic Committee President Robert Kane and Secretary General F. Don Miller agreed in ringing terms that the facilities being built or renovated in Leningrad. Tallinn and here are "very impressive . . . wonderful."
Of the Olympic village rising on a site behind Moscow State University, Miller declared: "It is the best Olympic village in furnishings, location and layout. The plans are excellent, the games will be an unqualified success."
He disclosed that the Americans are unhappy because the Russians have set aside no more than 20,000 beds in Moscow and 200,000 tickets for the anticipated crowd of American tourists. About one ticket in five would be for team handball and other sports of little U.S. spectator interest. The majority of tickets would be for sports Americans prefer watching and U.S. teams do well in, swimming, track and field and equestrian.
After the press conference, Miller said the Soviets plan to house up to 40 per cent of the U.S. tourists in student dormitories or youth hostels instead of Class A quality hotel rooms. Such accommodations here frequently have communal bathrooms of marginal sanitary standards, no maid service, no telephones and are remote from the few better quality restaurants of downtown Moscow.
Miller said the Americans want no more than 20 percent hostel beds to handle "youths and others who will want low-cost tours."
The Soviets plan to "turn over" the accommodations about twice during the period of the games, thus "having free beds for incoming tourists. The Soviet Olympic tour package, under present ticket allotments, would normally include game tickets for four events. The Americans said they want an additional 20,000 tickets set aside for U.S. visitors, as well as more beds. Miller said he believes the disagreement will be resolved by the end of the year.
The U.S. committee has named a New York City firm, Russian Travel Bureau, to handle U.S. tourists.