Having taken up the sport at the age of 14, Shane Perkins claimed junior world titles in the sprint and keirin events in 2004. Perkins made his Commonwealth Games debut in Melbourne in 2006 where he won bronze in the team sprint, and returned to the Commonwealth Games four years later to win gold in the individual and team sprint events in Delhi.
At a World Championship level, Perkins won sprint silver in 2010, kierin gold in 2011, and won a heroic team sprint gold medal in 2012 alongside Matthew Glaetzer and Scott Sunderland just months before the Games. What would become Australia's Olympic sprint trio had edged out the French by one thousandth of a second for gold, despite being dubbed a "work in progress." Perkins also finished fourth in the individual sprint after racing British great Sir Chris Hoy in the race for the bronze.
Perkins made his Olympic debut in London, beginning a demanding Games campaign in the team sprint. Glaetzer, Sunderland and Perkins qualified third fastest (43.377 seconds) and then defeated China in the first round. Their time of 43.261 seconds ranked them fourth, setting up a bronze medal showdown with Germany. In the medal race the Aussies kept pace with the German team for most of the race but eventually went down by 0.146 seconds as they finished the competition in a time of 43.355 seconds.
Perkins then qualified third fastest for his second event, the individual sprint. He won through to the semi-finals where he faced Gregory Bauge of France. The eventual silver medallist knocked off Perkins in two races leaving the Australian to face Njisane Phillip of Trinidad and Tobago for the bronze medal. The Aussie bounced back as he took out the opening two races and an Olympic bronze medal on debut. Jason Kenny of Great Britain won the gold with Bauge taking the silver.
Amid powerful sprinting company Perkins tried to lead from the front in the keirin final on the final night of London competition. Perkins finished fifth with Chris Hoy (GBR) taking gold, Maximillian Levy (GER) the silver and Teun Mulder (NED)and Simon van Velthooven (NZL) in a tie for bronze.