In the US I heard "Looking good!" being used by spectators to encourage disabled participants of a race. What does it actually mean? In this context it can't possibly be a comment on their appearance as is suggested in the answers I read about the meaning of "looking good".

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    It usually means that they are doing good and to keep up the work. – Jared May 4 '15 at 17:06
  • You didn't like the answer to your last question? – John Lawler May 4 '15 at 17:06
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    No by no means. I submitted both questions at the same time and I was referring to the answers I read on this site before submitting. I'm sorry for the confusion. – Marina Yegorova May 4 '15 at 17:17
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    Yeah, it's just a generic statement of encouragement. Literally it means roughly "I like how well you're performing" or something of that nature, but may be shouted as encouragement at the kid coming up dead last in a footrace (or it could be shouted to the front-runner). – Hot Licks May 4 '15 at 17:51
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    When not referring to physical appearance, it generally means the situation is looking good. It can refer to a project, schedule a person'e performance, condition of an item etc.. – Swapnil Luktuke May 4 '15 at 20:19

The literal meaning is "You are looking good".

The implication for someone in a sporting event is that despite what the participant may think (they are tired, or the score is against them) that things are better than they seem. It is a kind of encouragement.

There is nothing special about them being disabled or in a race, one could use it for anyone who is in some sort of struggle.

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