British Olympic champion Helen Glover said she needed to "Google rowing" when she took up the sport in 2008.
The 28-year-old won coxless pair gold with Heather Stanning at London 2012, and is now focused on defending the title in Rio.
World number one Glover and Stanning are unbeaten as a pair since 2012.
"I remember joining the sport in 2008 and I didn't know enough about rowing and had to Google rowing basically," she told BBC Radio 5 live.
"I looked at these names of the top 10 women in the world and to think I'm now number one does not feel real. It doesn't really feel like me."
Glover, who along with Stanning retained the world women's coxless pair title in September, added: "Creating a dynasty and unbeaten record is not what motivates me. I can look forward and think 'how good can I be in Rio in 2016? What can I do today to make that happen?'
"Race by race the wins accumulate, but my purpose is not to be unbeaten. My purpose is to get to Rio in the best shape I can be. So far, that has meant we've stayed in really good form."