As the torch symbolizing the lofty goals of the Olympic movement was being carried through Washington yesterday on its way from Greece to Lake Placid, N.Y., for the Winter Games, President Carter was characterizing attempts to move the Summer Olympics from Moscow as an effort "to protect these noble ideals from desecration."
The torch was lit at Olympia, Greece, and transported in miner's lamps by airplane to Langley Air Force Base in Virginia. It is being carried to Lake Placid for the Feb. 13 opening of the Winter Olympics there by a relay of 52 runners -- one each from the 50 states, the District of Columbia and the Village of Lake Placid.
The torchbearers, followed by 300 local runners, arrived in frigid but sunny Washington yesterday morning and paused at the Capitol for brief ceremonies that included a plea from Sen. Jacob JAVITS (R-N.Y.) that the Soviet Union "let us all enjoy peace and justice together."
Less than two hours earlier, President Carter had assailed the Soviets for their invasion of Afghanistan and said that "the Olympics should not become some meaningless or even hypocritical spetacle, but athletic competition as a genuine expression of international friendship and peace."
Speaking to the National Conference on Physical Fitness and Sports for All, the president said, "Recently I declared, on behalf of the American people, that unless the Soviet forces are withdrawn from Afghanistan, that the 1980 Olympic Games should be moved from Moscow, canceled or postponed. Both houses of Congress, I think speaking accurately for the American people, have concurred strongly in that judgment.
"Last weekend, the United States Olympic Committee voted . . . to support the strong national sentiment on this issue," the president continued.
". . . Their decision was difficult, and it was a courageous action which deserves our praise and support."
The USOC executive board approved, by a 68-0 vote, a resolution urging the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to transfer the Moscow Games to another site or several sites, or postpone or cancel them.
The proposal will be presented to the IOC at its meetings in Lake Placid Feb. 10-12. If it is rejected the USOC board will be asked to reconvene to consider President Carter's further request that the U.S. and like-minded nations not participate in the Moscow Games unless all Soviet troops are withdrawn from Afghanistan by Feb. 20.
"We assume the USOC's position will be to support the president's request," a State department official told The Washington Post yesterday. "We think the USOC will act promptly after Feb. 20, because there is no way we can wait much longer if we are going to organize alternate games." i
The president yesterday renewed his call for "international games of the highest quality" to be held for the world's athletes this year, but in Moscow only if Soviet troops are withdrawn form Afghanistan.
The president said in his speech that "we should not allow politics to interfere with Olympic competition," but that the Soviet Union's military invasion and subjugation of Afghanistan constituted not politics but aggression, pure and simple."
He said the U.S. and other nations would make it clear to the Soviets that they could not expect to conduct business or sports as ususal with the rest of the world."
The president also said he welcomes "athletes from all over the world who are now coming to Lake Placid, including those from the Soviet Union."
But aleading Soviet sports official yesterday complained of an "anti-soviet campaign in the United States" and severely criticized facilities at Lake Placid as indequate and exorbitantly priced.
"We are facing a clear violation of all traditions and provisions of the (Olympic) Charter," Valentin L. Sych told the Moscow newspaper Sovetskaya Kultura. "Nothing can justify the antihumane fact that the athletes are supposed to live in a building destined to be a person."
Sych severely criticized the austere, cramped rooms of the Olympic Village at Lake Placid, which eventually will become a "detention facility." He also complained that part of the Soviet delegation had to find housing on its own outside the village, and was being charged as much as $16,000 to rent a house.
But Ed Lewi, press director for the Lake Placid Games, denied that any athletes or their delegations were being overcharged and added: "None of the athletes or officials living in the village have complained. In face, some of them have called it a playground."