Damien Birkinhead placed fourth at the 2010 Singapore Youth Olympic Games kicking off a career of steady progression over the next seven years.
In 2012, he won bronze at the IAAF World Junior Championships and was fifth at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games.
Chasing a qualifier for the Rio Olympics (20.50m), he nailed his first in February 2016 in New Zealand with a put of 20.80m. A week later in Hobart, he went even further, 21.21m, just 5cm below the national record held by his coach Scott Martin.
He missed the Olympic Trial with a calf injury, but after his selection for the Olympic Games, he qualified for the final with a put of 20.50m. In the final, he placed 10th with a distance of 20.45m. In good form in the leadup to the 2017 IAAF World Championships, he put 19.90m in the qualifying round missing progression to the final. However, three weeks later in Croatia, he broke the Australian record of 21.26m, held by his coach Scott Martin, with a put of 21.35m. He now holds all four Australian junior and senior records.
In February 2018 he won his fourth national shot put title and achieved selection for his second Commonwealth Games.