Whether the Soviets attend this summer's Olympics is Moscow's decision to make. They have until early June to say what they will do. Until then we can expect to hear their complaints and observe their posturings about the Los Angeles games - about facilities, access for officials, protection against organized recruitment of Soviet athletes to defect, and so forth.
It would not be the end of the world for the Soviet team, and possibly others of the East bloc, to skip Los Angeles. But it would be too bad - for the Soviets , the Olympics tradition, the millions all around the world who watch the games on television, and particularly the individual athletes who put so much into preparing for the quadrennial competition.
At the least, it would be incongruous for the Soviets and their East-bloc allies, who stake so much of their image on state-supported athletic achievement , to pass up the opportunity to excel against the West. To compete favorably against the Americans in President Reagan's home state must be an enticing prospect.
American views of the Soviet/Los Angeles issue vary, as the adjoining editorials show. Not all Westerners are happy with the games, either - the commercialization, the need to take anti-terrorist precautions, as well as with the games' politicization.
But through all this, all that ultimately matters is the vision of sports that emerges from the competition itself, the individual victories in grace and courage over limitation. This is what we hope the Soviets will join in.