Within one year of his World Cup debut on home turf in Lahti in 2012, Ilkka Herola had shaped into the new team leader of the Finnish team, which was going through a dark phase after the phenomenal success of superstar Hannu Manninen.
Not only did the then-16-year-old get his permanent ticket for the World Cup with a second rank at the Junior World Championships in Erzurum, Turkey but he also established himself firmly in the Finnish team. By the next winter season, he also saw his first World Championships at Val di Fiemme, Italy. In the winter of 2013/14, he won silver again at the Junior World Championships at the same venue.
Herola, who lives in Siilinjärvi, Finland and starts for the ski club of Puijon Hiihtoseura, made his debut at the Olympic Games in Sochi with a 14th and 16th rank. He also collected two Top Ten ranks in early 2014 and with a fourth rank at the traditional King's Cup competition at Oslo, Norway he also showed clear podium potential for the winters to come.
Steadily improving also in the following winter of 2014/15, Herola developed into a steady Top 20 candidate and finished the overall ranking as seventeenth. The Finn followed through in the winter of 2015/16, claiming the first Finnish podium result in five years with a third position in Lillehammer in December 2015. The following season turned Herola into a Top Ten athlete, finishing seventh in the overall World Cup.
In his free time, the self-proclaimed "sometimes pessimistic but enterprising" Herola loves music, especially playing the drums and meeting up with friends. He is also one third of the new Nordic Combined band consisting of Herola, Austria's Bernhard Gruber and Germany's Tino Edelmann. Herola and his bandmates played two very well-received gigs at the TRIPLE in Seefeld and the World Cup Finals in Schonach in 2016.