The Italo-Australian prodigy’s life was turned upside down last May, when she was involved in a cycling accident at a club race.
Two broken both arms later, Gigante’s Year 12 studies became more laborious and stressful than she could’ve ever imagined.
Gigante’s mother had to transcribe her homework for her for six weeks.
Meanwhile, the young cyclist’s plans of riding in the Junior Track and Road World Championships in Switzerland and Austria a few months later were shattered, when doctors told her she had no hope of recovering in time.
Miraculously, the determined teen was back on the bike just 10 weeks after the horrific incident, and went on to take out second place at the world championships.
As if that wasn’t enough of an achievement, Gigante ended the year with a perfect ATAR of 99.95, scoring 40 or above in English Language, French, Latin and Chemistry.
After the rocky year she’d endured, the Melbourne Girls Grammar student said she was shocked to see a perfect score on her computer screen the day ATAR scores were released.
Gigante said her admirable results both in the classroom and on the bike come down to hard work and the support of her loved ones.
“The people around me were amazing,” she said.
“They kept my spirits high and helped me out when I needed it.”
Gigante has continued her streak of excellence into 2019, starting the year by defeating one of the world’s best riders to take out the elite and under 23 women’s titles at the 2019 Cycling Australia FedUni Road National Championships in Buninyong last weekend.
“Winning on Sunday was super special for me because not only is it a huge honour and a dream come true to be able to wear the green and gold, but it was also really unexpected and on the back of a tough year,” she said.
After spending some time revelling in her victory, Gigante will be gearing up for the beginning of her university degree.
The young talent is one of just 43 students to be offered the prestigious Melbourne Chancellor’s Scholarship at the University of Melbourne.
It’s the same scholarship her brother Scott was awarded seven years ago; he’s now studying a PhD in Bioinformatics at Yale University in the US.
While Gigante has enrolled in a Bachelor of Science, she’s keeping her options open for now and would also like to try out law.
Always up for a challenge, Gigante also wants to start learning Spanish and Italian, the latter being the mother tongue of her grandfather who came to Australia from Circello, Benevento, in 1952.
Translating to “giant”, Gigante’s surname suits her perfectly – though only 18 years old, Sarah has already made giant waves... and we can’t wait to see what the future has in store for this budding superstar.